Graves Disease and the Cheeks
- Posted on: Jan 15 2019
When we discuss the various aspects of Graves Disease, it is usually the effect that irregular thyroid function has on the eyes. As an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid eye disease, Dr. Raymond Douglas is aware of additional changes that irregularity may cause in the face. Here, we discuss the issue of buccal fat and how removing fat from the cheek area can restore adequate facial proportions.
What is Buccal Fat?
Buccal (“buckle”) fat is an encapsulated fat pad that is located between the nostrils and the corners of the mouth. Buccal fat is one of several different fat masses in the mid face. It is located deep beneath the skin, but has a way of creating a full, round appearance that alters the natural proportions of the face.
In our experience, people with thyroid eye disease may have buccal fat pads that are two to three times as substantial in size as they should be. It is not fully understood why buccal fat pad growth is more excessive in the presence of thyroid dysfunction. What is important, though, is not the “why” of the matter, it’s the ability to correct facial shape to improve a person’s confidence. In our Beverly Hills office, we accomplish this with buccal fat pad removal.
How Buccal Fat Pad Removal is Performed
Buccal fat pad removal is an outpatient procedure that is performed using local anesthesia and sedation. An incision is made inside the mouth at the lower cheek area. The buccal fat pad can be directly accessed through the incision and quickly removed. Only the buccal fat pad is removed; the other encapsulated fat masses are left intact to ensure proper midface contouring.
Swelling is a common side effect after buccal fat pad removal. However, most patients do not experience anything more. No bruising. No scarring. As soon as the day of surgery, it is possible to see an improvement in the contours of the cheek area. However, swelling subsides over two to three weeks.
Buccal fat pad removal isn’t for everyone. Patients whose face is already narrow and thin may look gaunt and “hollow” if buccal fat is removed. A thorough consultation and examination allows us to make an appropriate recommendation for surgery.
Posted in: Buccal Fat Pad Removal