alert on the tendency for people to trim their cheek fat in social media in order to achieve chiseled appearance.

PICTURED: Supermodel Bella Hadid, 17 years old in 2014

Leading cosmetic surgeons caution young individuals from having fat surgically removed from their cheeks because they run the danger of lifelong deformity.

The permanent procedure is promoted as a means to draw attention to the cheekbones and jawline and give them a sharp, chiseled appearance. However, removing this tissue, also known as buccal fat, can harm the delicate glands and nerves under the skin, paralyzing the patient and resulting in significant, persistent swelling.

As a result of the lack of tissue in the face, which causes the skin to droop and wrinkle and need some patients to rely on regular filler injections to rectify, experts warn that while early results may be appealing, patients will seem older before their time. their cheeks’ volume was restored.

“We’re going to end up with hordes of patients who look much older than they are because they’ve had facial surgery for fashion reasons,” says Dr. Monica Fawzy, a plastic surgeon who specializes in head and neck procedures.

Google search analytics show that demand for buccal fat removal is up at least 30 times since December, with women looking to emulate the angular facial looks of supermodels like Bella Hadid and Chrissy Teigen.

Bella Hadid in 2020 at the age of 23

PICTURED: Supermodel Bella Hadid, left in 2014 at age 17 and right in 2020 at age 23, who is rumored to have had buccal fat surgery

In late 2021, former Victoria’s Secret “angel” Teigen, 37, who is married to pop star John Legend, told her 42 million Instagram followers that she had the procedure and was happy with the results. Hadid, 26, has never commented, but beauty forums online are inundated with speculation that she’s also had buccal fat removed.

A growing number of cosmetic treatment clinics in the UK are offering the 45 minute buccal fat removal procedure, charging between ?2,000 and ?4,000. But in a statement to be published tomorrow, the British Association For Plastic, Reconstructive And Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) will “urge caution.”

The warning highlights the “significant risks” of the “social media craze,” including nerve damage and puncture of the salivary gland in the cheek.

BAPRAS spokesman Dr. Says Fawzy, ?There are a lot of potential downsides and very few benefits, so it’s bizarre that more women are asking.

‘Operating too close to the facial nerve can lead to paralysis, so it’s essential that this is done by experts in facial anatomy.

“But many have little experience working with the face, which leads to complications for patients.”

Dr. Tijion Esho, owner of cosmetic treatment franchise The Esho Clinic, adds: ‘Unfortunately, many people go to inexperienced clinicians because they are cheap. More often than not they get nasty inflammation or an uneven appearance because too much fat has been removed from one side.’

Buccal fat sits on both sides of the face between the cheekbone and cheekbones, under a large facial muscle called the buccinator muscle. Most clinics perform the minimally invasive surgery using local anesthesia. A small incision is made in the mouth, allowing surgeons to access the buccal fat. A piece of tissue, about the size of a marshmallow, is cut away and the wound is repaired with dissolvable sutures. Patients can usually go home within an hour.

Any type of doctor is able to perform cosmetic surgery, according to UK medical law, regardless of their experience. And even when buccal fat removal is done perfectly, patients can develop early signs of aging, Dr. Fawzy says. “Buccal fat protects against the early signs of aging because it maintains volume in the face, which looks youthful.”

Singer Liam Payne, photographed in 2019, aged 25, reportedly had the surgery

Liam Payne photographed in March at the age of 29

Singer Liam Payne, left in 2019 at age 25, right in March at age 29, reportedly had the surgery

She explains that as we age, a combination of factors, including a natural reduction in fat and thinning of the facial bones and ligaments, all cause the face to lose volume and sag.

“The less fat there is in the face, the harder it is to disguise it, so you end up with a lean, droopy look years and years earlier than you naturally would have.” Patients whose treatment has gone wrong have taken to online forums to warn others.

One woman wrote a month after her procedure that it had caused paralysis on the left side of her face.

“I wake up with a drooling, wet pillow, a stiff right jaw, and a swollen face,” she wrote on the cosmetic surgery review site RealSelf. ‘It is almost impossible [drink through a] straw.’

She added that sometimes she has to pry open her mouth with a spoon to eat.

Another 22-year-old woman stated that the procedure was “the worst mistake of my life.” She said, ?Now I have two dents under my cheekbones. I am trying to solve it with cheek implants, but for that I have to travel to another country. Please think before you do this surgery – this fat will never come back.’

Another wrote: ‘Six months later I noticed that the middle/lower part of my face has sunken. My lower face is sagging. My face is ruined.’

Cosmetic surgeons have been performing buccal fat removal procedures since the 1930s to slim down rounder faces.

“It’s been around for a long time, but its popularity has really exploded in the last year, since celebrities and influencers started posting about it on social media,” says Dr. Esho.

Traditionally, cosmetic surgery fads have been especially popular with women, but buccal fat removal seems to be one of the few bucking this trend. The grandpa’s popularity among men is believed to have originated in an online subculture of men who identify as “incels,” short for “involuntary celibacy.” Discussions on chat forums often revolve around the idea that men who don’t look classically masculine ? with a chiseled jaw ? fail to attract women.

In 2020, videos of young men doing specific tongue exercises to accentuate the jawline went viral on social media. The craze, known as “mewing,” can strengthen certain facial muscles, proponents argue ? but can also lead to jaw misalignment, which can ultimately damage teeth.

And in November, a Channel 4 documentary on the subculture revealed that some of these men hit themselves in the face with hammers in the misguided belief that it would stimulate bone growth and change their appearance.

One of the most notable chiseled transformations was seen on former One Direction pop star Liam Payne, who stunned fans with his new look back in March. Reports surfaced speculating whether the 29-year-old had undergone buccal fat removal, though he has not commented.

Photo filters on apps like Instagram and TikTok also have an impact, turning the face into angular cheekbones.

“Everyone wants a perfectly toned look ? where the skin is super tight, making the cheekbones and jawline prominent,” says Dr. Esho. But this aesthetic is only a reality on social media, where you can edit images to remove bits of loose skin or fat from the face. I tell patients that they need some laxity in the face to move it properly.’

London clinics offering the operation say side effects are limited to ‘sore cheeks for a week’ and ‘temporary swelling’ ? and it is scar-free. But dr. Fawzy says this is far from the full picture.

‘Many patients who come to me and say they want the procedure are put off as soon as I tell them the facts. Surgeons must be extremely careful not to touch one of the main facial nerves that run through the cheek or a gland that drains saliva from the cheeks to the mouth.

?If this happens, patients can suffer permanent damage to these structures, resulting in facial paralysis or extreme swelling from saliva buildup. If the gland is damaged ? which I’ve seen with this procedure ? patients need another surgery to repair it.?

A review article published last year suggested that complications, including paralysis and infections, occur in up to one in five patients.

Doctors have also sounded the alarm about the increasing popularity of another procedure for removing fat from the cheeks: fat-dissolving injections. These jabs contain high concentrations of acid that destroy fat cells.

Clinics selling the treatment – which costs anywhere from ?200 to ?2,000 for a course of three – claim the slimming effect is permanent. But the injections can make parts of the face asymmetrical and there’s a high risk of damage to the facial nerves, experts say.

‘It’s difficult to target specific areas because the product spreads out, often making the fat lumpy and uneven,’ says Dr Esho. “And if you inject in the wrong area, where the facial nerves are, you can do potentially life-altering damage.”

Medical training is not required to perform non-surgical procedures, which is one of the reasons errors are common. According to a study by The British College of Aesthetic Medicine, about two-thirds of failed cosmetic procedures are performed by beauticians.

The BAPRAS warning follows the government’s rejection in February of calls from MPs to impose tougher regulations on non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including fat-dissolving injections.

The ministers failed to comply with the demands of the Health and Social Care Commission, which produced a report calling for a licensing system to be introduced by August this year.

In an official response, the government said it has not met the recommended time frame due to the work required but will soon publish plans to implement the scheme.

Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester and chairman of the committee, said: ‘The delay puts people at risk of being exploited. We urge the government to come up with the regulation now.’

Surgeons warn over social media obsession with getting chiselled looks with cheek fat cutting op