Cheek Reduction

Cheek Reduction Sydney (Buccal Fat Pad Reduction)

  • Not covered by private health insurance or medicare
  • Day procedure only
  • Cosmetic elective procedure

Cheek reduction surgery (buccal fat pad reduction) is performed to address patient concerns about chubby cheeks due to a prominent fat pad in the lower part of the cheek. The procedure is designed to reduce the fat in the cheeks and can create the appearance of enhanced cheekbones, subject to the individual patient’s facial anatomy.

If the procedure is performed in isolation, the incisions are made inside the mouth so that there is no visible scar. Some patients do choose to combine a buccal fat pad reduction with a second surgery such as a facelift but this will be different for all patients.

The buccal fat pad is a large unit with mass in the temple region, the cheek region and the pterygoid region (back of the upper jaw). There is no need to remove the entire buccal fat pad and it is the cheek region that is most frequently reduced. We always warn patients about total removal as it will slim the face, but a decade later can lead to a very gaunt and unhealthy appearance. This means the procedure is not for everyone and results can vary. Remember, you have to live with your face for the rest of your life and all fat is not “bad fat”.

What happens at the first consultation?

Cosmetic surgery is a personal decision and one that every man and woman has their own reasons for making. During your first consultation, Dr Norris will focus on what you hope to achieve from the procedure and what you want your face to look like. After this, he will evaluate your face by assessing your skin tone, condition of skin laxity around the cheeks, and the amount of fatty tissue. He will also photograph you for your medical records. Patients who have thinner fat pads aren’t always good candidates for this procedure as it can make them look older instead of younger.

Dr Norris will discuss how the cheek reduction surgery is performed, and where the scar will be placed. You will then be provided with a detailed quotation which outlines your options for surgery. If you decide to proceed with cheek reduction, Dr Norris will see you again at a second consultation.

Dr Norris insists that all patients must stop smoking 2 months before embarking on any type of cosmetic surgery.

How is the cheek reduction operation done?

Dr Norrisperforms buccal fat pad removals in fully accredited medical facilities. You will be introduced to the anaesthetist that Dr Norris works closely with, who will give you a general anaesthetic. The procedure can take up to an hour depending on how much of the fat pads need to be removed. Once a portion of the fat pads has been removed, sutures will be used to close the incisions. The sutures in your mouth are dissolvable, therefore you will only come back to see Dr Norris to check on the swelling and bruising. Daily washing of your mouth with saltwater, especially after eating, will ensure your wounds are kept clean. You will also need to eat soft foods for the first week as the incision will cause some discomfort.

Buccal fat pad reduction surgery produces permanent results, which will only be visible several months after the procedure. However, patients should be aware that the surgery won’t prevent the natural ageing process from taking effect. Additional procedures and products may be required later on.

What happens after the cheek reduction (buccal fat pad reduction) surgery?


  • Buccal fat pad reduction procedure takes about an hour to complete.
  • You will need to spend around 4 hours in the hospital following your surgery before you will be discharged to recover at home.
  • A friend or responsible adult must collect you from the hospital as you may not drive home due to the effects of the anaesthetic. You may also want to have someone around to help you at home for the first day or two.
  • You will leave with written cheek reduction post-operative instructions and a prescription for pain medication and an antibiotic if necessary.
  • Short daily showers are permitted, and your mouth will need to be rinsed daily with saltwater too – this will help prevent infection after eating and drinking.
  • Within the first 2 days after cheek reduction surgery, you will experience the worst of the discomfort, but this can be managed with your prescribed pain medication. If at any point this pain can’t be managed with medication, you will need to schedule an appointment with Dr Norris.
  • You may also experience bruising, swelling, tenderness, and sensitivity. Swelling may vary from patient to patient and should resolve within 3 weeks.
  • Light exercise such as walking is permitted after 2 weeks. Normal daily exercises can be resumed after 6 weeks provided Dr Norris has cleared you for it.
  • You can return to work after 3 days, but some patients choose to take a day or two extra.
  • A follow-up appointment will be booked for you on day 3 or 7 after the operation. This is to make sure that the swelling is subsiding, and the wounds are healing effectively.

Possible complications

  • Haematoma A collection of blood in the wound area, which is either naturally absorbed into the body or sometimes requires further surgical drainage. Symptoms include swelling, pain, bruising, hot to touch or itchy skin.
  • Infection Infections are unpredictable and normally occur in the first 3 weeks after surgery and treated immediately with antibiotics.
  • Seroma Is a build-up of fluid after your surgery that can sometimes require removal via a syringe in the clinic.

How much does buccal fat removal cost in Sydney?

Since every patient needs to remove a very specific amount of buccal fat, there’s no way to provide an exact estimate without a personalised buccal fat pad reduction consultation with Dr Norris. You will also need to take hospital, anaesthetist and aftercare costs into consideration. Since this is a cosmetic surgery procedure, it won’t be covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

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