Cheek Reduction


While high cheekbones are a standard of beauty in Western culture, too high or too wide cheekbones can cause your face to look out of proportion. If you have prominent cheekbones or wide, full cheeks combined with a narrow lower face, you may want to explore the benefits of cheek reduction surgery.

What Is Cheek Reduction Surgery?

Cheek reduction surgery is a procedure or combination of procedures designed to give you a more appealing oval-shaped face. To address wide cheekbones or excessively round cheeks, you have several options:

Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal is a minimally invasive procedure to remove the fat pads of your cheeks, giving your face a more sculpted appearance.

Cheekbone Shaving

Cheekbone shaving pares down the zygomatic (cheek) bone, making it less prominent, and is best for addressing the front of the cheekbone.

Cheekbone Osteotomy

Cheekbone osteotomy surgery consists of making small cuts to the zygomatic bone, allowing the entire cheekbone to be moved inward and resulting in narrower cheeks.

Cheek reduction surgery is popular among Asian patients, who often wish to achieve a more proportionate facial aesthetic. Many Asian patients have bone structures that may require reducing the size or width of their cheeks to achieve a sculpted look with an oval or heart-shaped face. Dr. Charles S. Lee can create a more defined, balanced appearance by reshaping the cheekbones and removing excess fat.

Back to Top

What Can Cheek Reduction Treat?

Narrow Face With Wide Cheekbones

Cheekbones that are too wide can give the face a square look, especially on a narrow face, which many patients find undesirable. A cheekbone reduction can reduce the width of the cheeks for a balanced, natural look.

Round, “Chubby” Cheeks

Buccal fat pad removal is a procedure that reduces chubby, prominent cheeks by removing excess fat. With this procedure, Dr. Lee will ensure the patient maintains the balance of a youthful appearance without appearing too young for his or her age.

Wide Cheekbones and Round Cheeks

For patients with wide jaw and “puffy” cheeks, cheekbone reduction can be combined with buccal fat pad reduction to create a more sculpted facial structure.

Back to Top

What Are The Benefits of Cheek Reduction Surgery?

A Slimmer Facial Shape

Cheeks that are too round can give the impression that you are heavier than you really are. Cheekbone surgery and buccal fat pad removal can make your face look slimmer and more proportional.

More Defined Cheeks

Buccal fat pads are located in the “hollows” of the cheeks. Removing these fat pads can give the cheeks more definition and achieve a more sculpted look.

More Attractive Facial Angles

The cheekbones can be shaved down or pushed inward to improve contours and give the face a more desirable oval or heart shape.

A More Sophisticated Appearance

Rounded cheeks can make you look less mature than you would like. Cheek reduction can make your face look less childish without making you look older.

Back to Top

How Is Cheek Reduction Surgery Performed?

When you come in for your consultation with Dr. Lee, he will talk with you about your concerns and desired results. He will examine your face and recommend which cheek reduction surgery or surgeries will benefit you most. 

Cheekbone reduction surgery can be performed using either conscious sedation and local anesthesia, or general anesthesia, whichever is appropriate for your specific needs. It uses incisions hidden inside your mouth and scalp to minimize visible scarring. The time it takes to perform the surgery depends on which procedure you choose; buccal fat removal and cheekbone shaving are typically outpatient procedures, while cheekbone osteotomy may require an overnight stay.

Back to Top

What Can I Expect From My Cheek Reduction Recovery?

Recovery from cheek reduction surgery typically lasts a few weeks. You may be required to be on a liquid diet for the first few days following your surgery. You will likely experience some discomfort, but this is easily treated using prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. Buccal fat removal recovery time is generally about three weeks, at which time you will be able to return to your normal activities with no restrictions. Cheek shaving recovery time is similar, with most patients returning to their normal activities two or three weeks after the procedure.

Cheekbone osteotomy patients will require a bit longer to recover, as an osteotomy is a more involved surgery. Patients can plan on returning to work and other daily activities one to two weeks after surgery. However, you will need to refrain from strenuous exercise for at least six weeks after your procedure.

Back to Top

When Will I See My Cheek Reduction Results?

No matter which type of cheek reduction you have, there will be some swelling and possibly bruising after your surgery, obscuring your results. While the bruising will resolve within a few days, the swelling may come and go. For most patients, the swelling takes a few weeks to disappear completely, at which point you will be able to see partial results of your cheek reduction surgery.

Again, the time it takes to see your final results will depend on which surgery you have. Final buccal fat removal and cheek shaving results will be visible three to four months after surgery, while cheek osteotomy results may take up to six months.

Are My Cheek Reduction Results Permanent?

The results of cheek reduction surgery are expected to be permanent, no matter which procedure you undergo. Once buccal fat pads are removed, they never come back. However, gaining weight may add fullness to your cheeks and other areas of your face. 


What Complications Are Associated With Cheek Reduction Surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. These include:

  • Poor healing
  • Bleeding or infection
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Damage to the salivary glands or facial nerves
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Overcorrection 

The best way to ensure your cheek reduction surgery is performed safely and correctly is to go to the right surgeon. Dr. Charles S. Lee is not only a board-certified plastic surgeon, but is also board certified in otolaryngology. He is trained extensively in the internal structures of the face and nose, making him uniquely qualified to offer his patients optimal results.

Back to Top

Cheek Reduction FAQs

Am I a candidate for a cheek reduction?

Candidates for cheek reduction are non-smokers in good general health and have realistic expectations about their results. Good candidates for cheek reduction surgery may also struggle with one or more of the following issues, including:

  • Prominent, rounded cheeks with a narrow face 
  • Wide cheekbones 
  • Disproportionate features

Ideal candidates for cheek reduction surgery should be at a healthy, stable weight. In some cases, you may not be a candidate for buccal fat removal if you are over a certain age, as buccal fat naturally begins to decrease with time. 

Is cheek reduction painful?

Cheek reduction is performed using conscious sedation or general anesthesia, so there will be no pain during your surgery. Some soreness and discomfort are to be expected following your procedure, but oral medications can be taken to remedy this.

Does cheek reduction leave scars?

For cheekbone reduction, incisions are made inside the lip or hidden within the hairline, and any scarring will not be visible.

The incisions for removal of the buccal fat pads are made on the inside of the cheeks and will not be visible.

Can I combine other procedures with my cheek reduction surgery? 

When you come in for your consultation with Dr. Lee, you can explore your options for procedures to complement your cheek reduction. Some options may include eyelid surgery, chin augmentation, or jaw reduction.

What is the difference between cheek reduction and cheek augmentation?

Cheek reduction is for people who wish to reduce the prominence of their cheeks; they may think they’re too wide or too full. Cheek augmentation does the opposite: it uses facial fillers or implants to increase the volume in the cheeks, which may be thin due to genetics or weight loss, or to replace volume that has been lost due to age.

How much does cheek reduction cost in Beverly Hills?

The cost of your procedure will depend on several factors, including facility and surgeon’s fees as well as anesthesia costs. You will be provided with a price quote during your consultation. Financing is available.

Back to Top