The buccal fat pad is a well known reservoir of facial fat that can be removed in selective patients for a cheek thinning effect. The buccal lipectomy is an impressive procedure when one looks at the size of the fat pad as it is being extracted.
But beyond its potential aesthetic facial benefits, the uniqueness of buccal fat is that it is an encapsulated fat collection and it has a large lobules of fat within it. This suggests that this unique collection of facial fat may be metabolically different than other types of face or body fat. The role the buccal fat pad plays has never been precisely defined but it is not one of being a primary depot (collection) site for excess calories. This raises the question of whether buccal fat may offer advantages in fat transfer. (are the fat cells more hardy if transferred?)
Buccal fat can be processed into an injectable form. The fat pads can be cut into small pieces and then passed slowly back and forth between syringes until it is in more of an emulsified form. It is then placed into one cc syringes for injection. One unique feature of this emulsified fat injectate is that it has a very linear smooth flow as it comes out of the syringe.
The quantity of fat that both buccal fat pads can provide is 10cc to 12ccs. This is more than adequate for many facial augmentation needs such as the lips and cheeks. Whether it may survive better than other fat is speculative. But because it does not require a liposuction harvest suggests that it might have a higher survival rate.
The main drawback to the use of buccal fat for fat injections is that the buccal lipectomy procedure must be concurrently done for an aesthetic purpose. Because it creates its own aesthetic effect buccal fat is not harvested only for convenience.
Dr. Barry Eppley