'You can make a 25-year-old look 45 with a 15-minute procedure' — the pros, cons and risks of the latest celebrity cosmetic surgery craze (2023)

'You can make a 25-year-old look 45 with a 15-minute procedure' — the pros, cons and risks of the latest celebrity cosmetic surgery craze (1)

'You can make a 25-year-old look 45 with a 15-minute procedure' — the pros, cons and risks of the latest celebrity cosmetic surgery craze (2)

Buccal fat removal is the celebrity cosmetic surgery fad behind many a newly chiselled jawline

'You can make a 25-year-old look 45 with a 15-minute procedure' — the pros, cons and risks of the latest celebrity cosmetic surgery craze (3)

By Katherine LalancetteThe Kit

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Wed., Feb. 1, 2023timer6 min. read

updateArticle was updated 21 hrs ago

A few years ago, the phrase “hip dip,” referring to the indent present in many people’s upper leg, started gaining popularity. Searches for the term skyrocketed online. Suddenly, this “body part” most people had never even heard of became the subject of a collective obsession.

No sooner did one learn of the existence of “hip dips” did one also learn that they were undesirable. No good, not cute. Instead, what was desirable was a smooth, swaying curve seamlessly connecting the waist to the knee — in other words, the Kardashian hourglass.

Cosmetic surgeons began posting patient photos on social media, extolling the virtues of fillers and fat transfers to “correct” this apparent anatomical shortcoming. Fitness influencers promoted workout plans targeting the region, something many experts deemed a waste of time as “violin hips,” as they’re sometimes nicknamed, are mainly caused by the shape of one’s pelvis, something no amount of exercise can modify.

Well, we’re calling it: Buccal fat is the new hip dip. A region of the human physique few of us ever gave much thought to until, somehow, it permeated the zeitgeist and became yet another thing to feel self-conscious about.

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“It seems to be one of the hot trends on social media now,” says Dr. Sherrell J. Aston, a world-renowned Manhattan plastic surgeon. Indeed it does. On TikTok, videos pertaining to buccal fat have amassed over 255 million views.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “buccal,” pronounced “buckle,” comes from the Latin word bucca, meaning cheek. So “buccal fat” refers to the fat pad — our face comprises several, which help give it its shape — wedged between the cheekbone and jawbone.

“There are some people in whom it’s large from birth,” says Dr. Steven A. Hanna, a Canadian plastic surgeon who works with Aston and is currently completing a fellowship in New York City. “They have very round faces and look like cherubs.” Those are the people he and Aston consider prime candidates for buccal fat excision, a procedure during which excess fat is removed to narrow the face.

As far as cosmetic surgeries go, this is one that’s considered relatively minor. It takes less than half an hour to perform and the sutures are hidden inside the mouth so there aren’t any bandages or external scars, only a bit of swelling for a few days.

“Recovery was super easy,” says Patricia Gloria, a dog groomer out of Upland, California, who got the procedure done in December. “Maybe a little pain the day after, but I took some Tylenol and was completely fine. I felt back to normal after a week.”

The 33-year-old had always had “chubby cheeks,” she says, but in recent years, she’d noticed they’d begun drooping, which made her insecure about her appearance, especially in photos. She saw a buccal fat removal before-and-after on Instagram and was stunned by the results. “I had no idea this surgery existed,” she says. She went in for a consultation and was scheduled to go under the knife a month later. “I couldn’t wait. I wanted to feel confident again and be able to take pictures with family and friends.”

As soon as she looked in the mirror after the surgery, she was elated. “I could immediately see a difference,” she says. “It’s only been two months, but I’m really pleased with the results so far.”

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She’s in good company. In Hollywood, pretty much anyone who’s anyone these days is rumoured to have gotten buccal fat removal. It’s as though it’s become part of the “welcome to fame” package, as commonplace as nose jobs and veneers. Bella Hadid is said to have had it, as is Zoë Kravitz and Lea Michele and Anya Taylor-Joy and Eiza Gonzalez. Two years ago, Chrissy Teigen posted a video to her Instagram Stories in which she pointed to her newly chiseled cheeks and shared she’d done “that buccal fat removal thing.” (Other celebs haven’t been so forthcoming.)

The result is a parade of perfectly sculpted faces splashed over social media and red carpets. No wonder more and more people are walking into cosmetic surgeons’ offices asking to have it done.

Aston says he’s definitely noticed increased interest around the procedure, though that doesn’t mean he’s been performing it any more than usual. “I’ve sent many young people away saying, ‘You’ll like it now, but you won’t like it as you get older.’”

Because here’s what you need to know: As we age, the fat in our face naturally shrinks, causing us to look more gaunt. “Think about it: How do people in nursing homes look?” asks Aston. “They’re hollower in their cheeks.” So while some people, like Gloria, might benefit from the procedure, those who don’t resemble baby angels in a Renaissance painting run the risk of looking older as a result, especially in the long run. “There is evidence that the buccal fat pad is structural,” says Hanna, meaning it plays a role in holding up the face. Taking it out could thus lead to more sagging over time.

And there’s a kicker: You can’t undo it. “If someone takes that fat out when they’re 25 — particularly some of the models who are having it done; they’re pretty thin to begin with — they may feel like they’ve got great cheek contour now, but the problem is, unlike some of the things we do, it’s not a procedure you can reverse,” says Aston. “You can’t fill that buccal space out with fillers very well. You can’t fill it out with fat graphs.”

Even Sarah Balladares, a physician assistant and esthetic injector in Louisiana who got buccal fat removal two years ago, admits “there’s a strong possibility that some people [who get it done] will look older long term.” That said, she doesn’t regret the procedure in the slightest and recommends it to patients when appropriate. “I get to look in the mirror every day and feel confident in my decision to have had the surgery,” she says. For her, it all comes down to finding a good doctor and making sure the procedure is truly right for you.

Seeking out an experienced surgeon is essential for another reason: “If you don’t do it correctly, you can have significant issues,” says Aston. There’s a facial nerve branch that runs through the area and if that nerve is damaged during the procedure, there’s a risk of hindering motor function in the face. A 2018 study found there was a “26.3 per chance of injury to the buccal branch of the facial nerve during total removal of the buccal fat pad simply based on anatomical variation.”

All to say, while it may be a quick surgery with minimal downtime, buccal fat removal isn’t as straightforward as it can seem on the outside. “It’s a trendy procedure and there are some people who will just do it,” says Aston. “A 20-year-old lady shows up in somebody’s office and says, ‘I want to take these out,’ and there are some people who say, ‘Yeah, sure.’ But I think it’s a good procedure for a limited number of people. Otherwise, you can make a 25-year-old look 45 with a 15-minute procedure.”

Katherine Lalancette is the beauty and lifestyle director of The Kit, based in Toronto. She writes about beauty and trends. Reach her on email at kl@thekit.ca or follow her on Twitter: @kik_tweets

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What are the disadvantages of cosmetic surgery? ›

Cons of Plastic Surgery
  • It can be very costly. Cosmetic surgery is one of the most expensive surgeries to undergo. ...
  • Maybe very painful. ...
  • The results may be temporary. ...
  • The outcome may be worse. ...
  • Facing Criticism. ...
  • High risk of infections. ...
  • High Risk of scars. ...
  • You may take longer to heal.

How to decide on cosmetic surgery? ›

Cosmetic Surgery: How To Choose the Right Procedure for You
  1. Think About Your Goals. ...
  2. Consider Your Budget. ...
  3. Look at the Services Available. ...
  4. Understand Recovery Time. ...
  5. Look at Before and After Photos. ...
  6. Get a Consultation. ...
  7. Need Help With Cosmetic Surgery Procedures?

Is cosmetic surgery for everyone? ›

Cosmetic surgery can help improve your appearance, but it's not for everyone. Know what to consider before surgery, how to find a surgeon and what questions to ask.

Is it safe to do cosmetic surgery? ›

Although plastic surgery has proven to be exceedingly safe, no medical procedure is without risks. This is true both during the surgery and the recovery time afterwards. Before scheduling an elective surgery, you should review the qualifications of the physician performing it.

Does plastic surgery get worse with age? ›

They found no difference in elderly versus young flap success rates or surgical complications, however, did find significantly more medical complications and mortality in elderly patients. Offodile et al. found age to be significant predictor of prolonged postoperative stay following free tissue transfer.

Should I get a facelift at 65? ›

At 65, surgery can be performed safely and effectively, but there is a greater chance of post-surgical complications if you have certain medical conditions. Talk openly with your facial plastic surgeon if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a heart condition, diabetes, or any other medical concerns.

What is the #1 cosmetic surgery? ›

With over 300,000 surgeries performed each year, breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the United States. There are many reasons why women choose to have this surgery.

What plastic surgery is most painful? ›

Many patients suggest that the Brazilian butt lift is the most painful surgery. This is followed by the tummy tuck, breast implants, liposuction, breast lifts and reductions, and jaw surgery. Dental implants can also cause much pain, as you still need to eat in the healing process.

What is the best age to get plastic surgery? ›

Well, traditionally, the recommended age for plastic surgery was anywhere between 18 and 70. This is because most cosmetic procedures work best when the body has achieved its full adult size. For males, adult size is usually reached between age 15-18, while for females, it's 14-18.

What is the least risky cosmetic surgery? ›

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, including fillers, neurotoxins and laser and energy device procedures are exceedingly safe and have essentially no risk of serious adverse events, reports a new study that analyzed more than 20,000 procedures around the country.

What are the side effects of plastic surgery on face? ›

Infection at the incision site, which may worsen scarring and require additional surgery. Fluid buildup under the skin. Mild bleeding, which may require another surgical procedure, or bleeding significant enough to require a transfusion. Abnormal scarring due to skin breakdown.

What is the most difficult plastic surgery procedure? ›

In actuality, rhinoplasty is widely regarded as the most difficult of all cosmetic procedures. Even a modest change in nasal contour requires a sophisticated understanding of nasal anatomy, precise surgical technique, and familiarity with the myriad pitfalls that can lead to potential complications.

Does your face feel different after plastic surgery? ›

Facelift: It is normal to experience sensation changes around facelift incision sites for up to 12 to 18 months. Many patients start to get feeling back about three to six months after surgery, but don't worry if it takes additional time to return to normal sensation.

What not to do before cosmetic surgery? ›

Patients should also abstain from drinking alcohol about 72 hours before the day of their surgery, as it can affect your immune system. Of course, do not take aspirin or aspirin products for 2 weeks before your procedure, as these medications can thin the blood and heighten your risk for excessive bleeding.

How much younger does a mini facelift make you look? ›

You can look literally a decade younger than before the mini-facelift, with useful definition restored to your chin, jaw, and lower facial area, and previously sagging skin tightened up. You'll simply see a much better version of you in the mirror each morning.

What age should you get a mini facelift? ›

Mini-facelifts tend to be most suited for people who are at least 30 to 40 years-old. The procedure itself is not as invasive as a full facelift, with the ultimate goal being to provide a more youthful appearance.

Can a facelift make you look worse? ›

Volume loss can make the skin sag. Think of the aging face as a gradually deflating balloon which becomes gradually more wrinkled as it loses air. When a facelift is performed on a patient with significant facial volume loss, the end result can be a pulled or unnatural looking face.

What is the most natural looking facelift? ›

The most dramatic yet natural-looking results occur with a full SMAS facelift with the incisions on either side of the face beginning at the temple and extending down and around the ear to the lower scalp. These incisions are well hidden within the hairline.

What are the risks of face lift? ›

Facial nerve injury or weakness may occur along with numbness or changes in skin sensation. This may be temporary or permanent. Infection and anesthesia reaction. As with any type of surgery, there is a risk of infection and a reaction to the anesthesia.

How long does it take for your face to look normal after a facelift? ›

Facelift recovery time

You should look and feel normal after 2 – 4 weeks. Keep in mind that facelift surgery cannot stop natural aging, so we encourage patients to continue to take care of their skin and make healthy lifestyle choices.

Who do the Kardashians use for plastic surgery? ›

The Kardashian family plastic surgeon

The Kardashian family likes to work with Dr. Fisher for his caring attention and outstanding, red carpet ready results.

What plastic surgery is trending in 2023? ›

Minimally invasive procedures remain popular

2023 is the year the pendulum swung back to a more natural aesthetic with understated breast implants and BBLs. In addition, liposuction remains popular, as does nonsurgical facial rejuvenation.

What is the most requested plastic surgery? ›

The 10 Most Common Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Liposuction.
  • Breast Augmentation.
  • Blepharoplasty.
  • Abdominoplasty.
  • Breast Reduction.
  • Rhinoplasty.
  • Rhytidectomy.
  • Breast Lift.
Feb 14, 2022

Why you shouldn't get plastic surgery? ›

Plastic surgery procedures can result in complications ranging from an unattractive or unnatural final result to scarring or even death. In some ways, cosmetic surgery can be more challenging than more standard surgeries if the patient doesn't tolerate surgery well.

What hurts more tummy tuck or breast augmentation? ›

Answer: Tummy tuck discomfort

Patients tell me that the tummy tuck causes more discomfort than the breast augmentation. If a scale is used from 0-10, where 10 is the worst pain. Breast augmentation patients tell me 5 or 6 for few days and a tummy tuck is 7 or 8 for a few days.

Where is the safest place for plastic surgery? ›

Mexico has become one of the leading countries in safe, affordable plastic surgery with accredited and famous, sought-after surgeons. Mexico is now one of the most popular destinations in the world when it comes to having any type of cosmetic surgery procedure.

What age is too late to get plastic surgery? ›

There is no maximum age for cosmetic surgery. 49 years is a common age for breast augmentation and lift. Rather than age, medical health is the limiting factor.

Does plastic surgery stop aging? ›

Although plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures can reduce the appearance of aging, they, unfortunately, cannot stop the aging process.

Are face lifts worth it? ›

It's the most effective way to address significant sagging and smooth deep wrinkles and folds, with results that last a decade or more. “A facelift is the singular cornerstone for facial rejuvenation,” says Dr. Stephen Prendiville, a facial plastic surgeon in Fort Myers, Florida.

Which breast plastic surgery is more safer? ›

Silicone Breast Implants

Standard silicone gel breast implants are round in shape and are chosen most often by patients for these reasons: Excellent safety and performance record. Feel like natural breast tissue compared to saline implants.

What are the side effects of a mini facelift? ›

The risks that come with a mini facelift are minimal. Because it is a surgical procedure, you should expect slight swelling, bruising, and soreness. These side effects typically go away quickly. Some patients have seen side effects disappear in a few days, while some may take a week.

What are the complications of a mini facelift? ›

While a mini facelift uses fewer incisions compared to a traditional facelift, it's still considered an invasive procedure. Like all types of surgery, mild side effects are to be expected. These include bruising, pain, and swelling. Severe side effects are rare but may include excessive bleeding and infections.

What are the pros and cons of plastic surgery? ›

What are the Pros and Cons of Plastic Surgery
  • Boost Confidence. Many people who have plastic surgery in order to alleviate an aesthetic concern end up feeling more confident about their appearance. ...
  • Look Younger. ...
  • Improve Scarring. ...
  • Treat Obesity. ...
  • Expensive. ...
  • Surgical Risks. ...
  • Unsatisfactory Outcome. ...
  • Recovery Downtime.
Jul 2, 2022

How painful is plastic surgery recovery? ›

While everyone's pain threshold is different, most agree that plastic surgery is not very painful, and recovery is usually quick and easy. If you are interested in learning more about the amount of pain after plastic surgery or would like to schedule a surgical consultation, contact Dr.

How can I not be scared of plastic surgery? ›

There are several effective ways, however, to overcome your fears of plastic surgery.
  1. Get Information From Reputable Sources. ...
  2. Choose a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. ...
  3. Choose a Surgeon Specifically in Your Area of Surgery. ...
  4. Discuss Your Goals During the Consultation. ...
  5. Find Out How Soon You Can Resume Normal Activity.

Do you feel pain during plastic surgery? ›

The foremost question that pops up in mind before going for plastic surgery is how much will it hurt? Fortunately, due to recent innovation and advancement of technology, the pain has significantly reduced. However, some amount of pain and discomfort is inevitable in every type of surgery.

What is the highest risk for cosmetic surgery? ›

1. Body Lift. Because it is actually several procedures in one, the body lift is considered the most risky for patients. This surgery involves lifting the belly, buttocks, thighs and genitals at once in an effort to improve the overall shape of the body.

What is the riskiest cosmetic procedure? ›

The Brazilian butt lift is among the most dangerous aesthetic procedures.

What is the safest cosmetic procedure? ›

Summary: Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, including fillers, neurotoxins and laser and energy device procedures are exceedingly safe and have essentially no risk of serious adverse events, reports a new study that analyzed more than 20,000 procedures around the country.

Are there long term effects of plastic surgery? ›

The potential for nerve damage is present in many different types of surgical procedures. Numbness and tingling are common after plastic surgery and can be signs of nerve damage. Most often the nerve damage is temporary, but in some cases it can be permanent.

Do you regret having a facelift? ›

Research by Medical Accident Group found that 65% of people they polled regretted their surgery, though 28% were very happy with its results. According to the poll, 83% of people who had had plastic surgery wouldn't consider having any form of cosmetic procedure again.

What are the top three popular cosmetic surgery procedures? ›

Although health insurance rarely covers the cost of cosmetic procedures, the number of people deciding to have cosmetic plastic surgery continues to grow. The top cosmetic surgeries are breast augmentation, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck, and facelift.

What is the least invasive cosmetic surgery? ›

Fillers, BOTOX injections, chemical peeling, and laser treatment are some of the most popular and effective noninvasive cosmetic treatments. These procedures are relatively fast, painless, and involve mild-to-moderate side effects.

What is the best procedure to make your face look younger? ›

A facelift is certainly the best cosmetic surgery to erase wrinkles off your face. Dermal Fillers and Anti Wrinkle Injections can also help with looking younger.

What is the best procedure for under eye wrinkles 2022? ›

A blepharoplasty is a quick, simple and safe surgical procedure for reducing drooping around the eyes, tightening any folds and creases in both the lower and upper eyelids and lifting the skin around the eyes. A Lower Blepharoplasty procedure repositions or removes excess tissue and skin from under the eye.

What is the least invasive plastic surgery for face? ›

Non-Invasive Procedures
  • Ear Shaping.
  • Eyelid Surgery.
  • Eyebrow Lift.
  • Face and Neck Lift.
  • Rhinoplasty.

What is the best age for cosmetic surgery? ›

Well, traditionally, the recommended age for plastic surgery was anywhere between 18 and 70. This is because most cosmetic procedures work best when the body has achieved its full adult size. For males, adult size is usually reached between age 15-18, while for females, it's 14-18.

What is the positive side of plastic surgery? ›

Plastic surgery can increase happiness and self-esteem. One study showed that plastic surgery helps patients feel happier, less depressed, and less socially anxious. It also gives them a greater quality of life. Improving one's appearance can lead to having more self-esteem and confidence.


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