How to Reduce Chubby Cheeks and Create a Slimmer Face

As a facial plastic surgeon, my goal is to maintain balance and proportion of the facial structures. However, there are times when the face is not in proportion with the rest of the body. I’ve seen patients that are physically fit, but yet have a full, round, and chubby face. Their facial structure makes them look much heavier than they actually are. In this situation, I’m striving to create a facial structure that is in proportion with the remainder of the body.  I will go through the steps in the evaluation and the treatment options to create a slimmer, angular, and defined face.

Step one – What is the cause of a chubby or a round face in physically fit individuals?

The most important step in creating a slimmer face is to identify the reasons why the face looks full or heavy.  The three most common reasons are:

  1. Large buccal fat pad
  2. Weak cheekbone structure
  3. Weak jawline

Why does a large buccal fat pad cause a chubby face?

The buccal fat pad is a discrete area of fat that lies in the cheek region. This fat is stable throughout life, and it will not change over time or with weight changes. When this area of fat is full or large, it creates the facial structure that is commonly described as chubby cheeks. Patients may have chubby cheeks even if they have an athletic or skinny build. This can create a face that appears heavier and not in proportion with the remainder of the body. The treatment for chubby cheeks in this situation is a buccal fat pad removal.

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What are the steps of a buccal fat pad removal?

Buccal fat pad removal is a straightforward in-office procedure. The buccal fat pad is identified through a small incision on the inside of the mouth in the cheek region. The buccal fat pad is then identified through a small incision, and a section of the buccal fat pad is removed.  The amount of fat to be removed is dependent on the size of buccal fat and the patient’s goals.  After removal, 2-4 dissolvable stitches are placed inside the mouth to close the incisions. The entire procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete. To learn more about buccal fat pad removal, visit

What is recovery from a buccal fat pad removal?

Recovery from buccal fat pad removal is minimal. There is little to no pain that is controlled by Tylenol, and patients are given a prescription mouthwash to use after eating. The next day, the cheeks will look a little swollen, but they should be able to go back to work after a few days. Some patients choose to go back to work the next day.  Patients should refrain from heavy exercise for one week and must refrain from eating sharp food, such as chips, until the tiny incisions in the mouth are healed.  I will see patients one week after surgery for a checkup.  At that time, there are no stitches to remove because they are dissolvable.  Patients begin to see results at two weeks, and the final results will be appreciated after four months after all of the swelling has resolved.  I will see patients back in the office at four months after surgery to review their before and after photos.  

buccal fat removal for slimmer face in charlotte, nc


Do I need general anesthesia for a buccal fat pad removal?

It is not necessary to have general anesthesia for a buccal fat pad removal. This can be done under local anesthesia. During this process, the patient is given a pill to make them relaxed and the area is numbed. Some patients choose to get light anesthesia because they feel more comfortable with this method. Patients have the option to either stay away or go asleep during a buccal pad excision.  


How does a weak cheek bone structure create a chubby face?

In regards to the balance and proportions of the face, a weak cheekbone structure can create the appearance of wideness and fullness in the lower part of the face. A bottom-heavy face secondary to a weak cheek bone structure will create a face that appears heavier or chubby.

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How do you treat a weak cheekbone structure to make the face look more defined?

You can create a stronger cheekbone structure through both non-surgical and surgical options. Non-surgical options, such as injectable fillers, are great options to create higher more defined cheekbones.  Surgical options to create stronger cheekbones include facial fat grafting and cheek implants. The surgical options are longer-lasting when compared to injectable fillers. It is very common to combine buccal fat pad removal with augmentation of the cheekbone region to create a more harmonious facial structure.

How does a weak jawline create a chubby face?

If the jawline is weak, there is blunting and loss of definition along the jawline and neckline. It is hard to get angulation along the jawline and a neckline with a weak bone structure in this region. A setback chin will give the illusion of a heavier chubby neckline.


jawline contouring for slimmer face in charlotte, nc

What are the treatment options for weak jawline to make the face look less heavy?

Again, there are both surgical and non-surgical options to augment and strengthen the jawline. The jawline can be augmented in the office by using injectable fillers. Common fillers to be used in this area are Restylane and Juvederm. Jawlines can also be strengthened surgically using facial fat grafting and implants. Jawline implants can include both chin implants and custom mandibular implants. Similar to cheek augmentation, surgical options will be longer-lasting. Some patients choose to have a non-surgical treatment first to get an idea about their possible results if they chose to have surgery later.


How do I figure out the best options to treat my chubby cheeks?

I would suggest, if you’re interested in creating a more angular and defined face, to have a consultation at Carolina Facial Plastics. Our practice is solely focused on creating a more harmonious facial structure and the above-mentioned procedures are commonly performed at our all-inclusive office in the Southpark region of Charlotte.  During a consultation, we will explain all the available options and allow the patient to decide what they think is going to be the best option for their bodies. If you want to learn more about these options, please call (704) 323-5090 or fill out the online consultation request form here.


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Surgeon in Beverly Hills

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