Chrissy Teigen got fat removed from her cheeks. A plastic surgeon explains the procedure.

·3 min read

Chrissy Teigen got candid this week about going under the knife. The Cravings author shared on Instagram that she underwent buccal fat removal, a cosmetic medical procedure designed to reduce fullness in one’s cheeks and add more contour to one’s face.

“I did that Dr. Diamond buccal fat removal thing here,” Teigen shared on the social media platform, referring to Dr. 90210’s famed facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Diamond. “And since I quit drinking, I’m really seeing the results, and I like it. Yeah, I did it, what?”

Yahoo Life spoke to Dr. Frank Agullo about Teigen’s procedure and shared why some people might want to go under the knife for buccal fat removal.

“Many people are inspired by Angelina Jolie’s jawline and cheek contour. Buccal fat pad removal is one of the ways to obtain this look,” he explains. “It helps change a round face into a more triangular and slender aesthetically pleasing shape. It can create the shadow effect often created with makeup between the cheek and the jawline. The results are often subtle and can be mimicked by pursing your lips and slightly sucking in your cheeks.”

Chrissy Teigen had fat removed from her cheeks by a plastic surgeon.
Chrissy Teigen had fat removed from her cheeks by a plastic surgeon. (Photo: Chrissy Teigen/Instagram)

The surgery is a “straightforward process” that can be completed in under 30 minutes under local anesthesia.

“The buccal fat pad is a pocket of fat that fills deep tissue spaces in the cheek and temporal areas,” he says. “Removal is performed through a small incision inside the mouth.”

He notes that “patients with a round face with cheek fullness are the best candidates.”

“These patients are often seeking a slender, more triangular shape to the face. The procedure is also indicated in patients seeking more jawline definition,” Dr. Agullo explains. “Patients with very little facial fat are not good candidates.”

While some people claim that buccal fat removal “will make their faces age faster,” Dr. Agullo says that when done properly on ideal candidates, that’s not a concern.

As for recovery, it’s usually “painless,” with “very small” scars hidden inside the mouth. While swelling of the cheeks is possible, most patients can return to work the next day. They are, however, advised to hold off on exercise for two weeks to avoid further swelling.

Dr. Agullo notes that when done by a properly certified specialist, complications from buccal fat removal are extremely rare. In order to avoid infection — which he says can happen with any procedure — patients are given an oral antibiotic.

However, “rare and avoidable complications are nerve injuries, which can cause facial asymmetry and damage to the parotid duct,” he says.

While Dr. Agullo charges between $3,000 and $4,000 for the procedure, he notes that it can often be done at much cheaper prices and that even some dentists offer buccal fat removal.

For those who want that snatched look, but aren’t interested in a surgical procedure, there are alternatives. Makeup contouring is one option, others are Botox and fillers.

“Botox to the masseters can also help achieve the look, as it decreases the size and prominence of the muscles,” Dr. Agullo explains, adding that this is often combined with buccal fat removal for a more dramatic look. “Fillers can be used in the cheek and jawline for better definition and to camouflage the fullness of the cheeks.”

Teigen, however, went for the more permanent solution — and she's thrilled with the results.