Buccal Fat operation involves removal of the areas of fat that lie deep within the cheek.
This fat pad, I believe, has evolved as a shock absorber for chewing food or forceful cheek movements, such as having the mouth full or blowing up objects. At the same time, it is a small fat store and importantly it gives some definition and form to our face.
It is always present, but its volume is variable and undoubtedly changes in size, shape, and position with age.
Buccal fat is not difficult to remove via an approach within the mouth, but in my practice, I have usually used this operation for treatment of asymmetry and in some rare cases, where there is too much general fat in the face (such as in a condition known as Cherubism).
I have also carried out this procedure in cases of facial palsy where I have transplanted muscle to animate the paralysed side of the face. Because the muscle adds bulk, I usually try to remove some of the buccal fat pad. But again, this is a relatively rare surgery.
There has been an increase in demand for removal of buccal fat pad to give a sunken appearance to the cheeks, to enhance the width of the cheekbones and emphasis the angles. And alter subtly the shape of the face.
In some people, there is a relative excess of buccal fat, and certainly removal may help in reducing the chipmunk-like appearance. But again, this is relatively rare.
Buccal fat removal surgery can be carried out under Local Anaesthetic and Sedation as a day case, but I believe should really be reserved for quite specific patients. The surgery must be used with care, because in general, removal of fat from the face is often an ageing process. So it truly has to be carried out on patients who want a very specific change in facial shape, and the surgeon has to be very sure that the subtle results that can be achieved are what the patient wants.