Two days ago, I learned that Chrissy Teigen had her buccal fat pads removed. She famously went on to tell her strong social media following that she had a procedure done to remove fat her cheeks and to her enhance her face shape (https://www.insider.com/chrissy-teige…). She’s gorgeous but her appearance looked a bit exaggerated- maybe she was using a filter? Anyway, the video spread quickly through social media and several media outlets were quick to identify that the procedure was designed to slim her face and improve her jawline. The model and actress confirmed it during a selfie video where she proudly admitted to undergoing this treatment. She chose a surgeon in Beverly Hills who is well-trained and qualified to perform the procedure. In the video testimonial, the actress is very happy with her decision to undergo this treatment and she is proud to admit it. This is a very outspoken personality, who has denied claims that she has had other facial plastic surgery in the past.
The morning after learning about this “news”, I received a notification in my mailbox that multiple sources had mentioned my name in the news. Specifically, that I am a plastic surgeon near Irvine, California and that “Patients can also be disappointed at asymmetrical or minimal results, as the surgeon removes only about 40% to 50% of the whole cheek pad, Dr. Jonathan Zelken, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon near Irvine, California, wrote on his clinic’s website.” This was cited from another Blog on my website (https://zelkeninstitute.com/2020/07/2…). I was happy to see my name and the news, of course, and perhaps this escalates me to a local or national “expert” on the topic. And therefore, perhaps I am qualified to weigh in on the model’s decision to undergo buccal fat pad removal surgery, her candidacy, and whether or not this will objectively improve her appearance. I also want to discuss some of the rationale behind why she may have decided to undergo this procedure and to better understand her surgeon’s logic (Dr. Jason Diamond) in moving forward with it.
Chrissy is a starlet and runway model who is well-known to most Americans. She has a distinct, youthful and feminine appearance attributable to her multiethnic heritage. Her mother is from Thailand and her father is Norwegian. The combination confers stunning features of both heritages, giving her a unique and recognizable appearance. Some of the features that make Chrissy recognizable are a smooth and round forehead, broad and full cheeks, and a strong yet feminine jawline. She always had concavities in her cheeks giving her a sculpted look consistent with her career as a model. However, she has had fluctuations in her weight since having children and has had to face online criticism about her fluctuations in weight. I believe the combination of these intense pressures, congenitally full facial features (https://www.beautyanalysis.com/beauty…), and a desire to achieve a “filtered” facial appearance with exaggerated sculpture of the midface and a pointed chin may have contributed to her decision to undergo buccal fat pad removal surgery.
However, I do not think she was the ideal candidate for this operation. Buccal fat removal (reduction) surgery is designed to enhance mid facial concavity in patients who were looking for a more sculpted look, sure. However, when such a feature exists naturally, in the context of a strong masseter muscle, well-defined jawline, and strong cheekbones, the result can look exaggerated and gaunt. I do not believe the operation has the capacity to age the face, but in people who have already sunken-in cheeks, further reduction of this area can exaggerate that appearance. In Mrs. Teigen’s case, this was probably the desired outcome. But did it make her look objectively more beautiful? I leave it to you to decide. In my opinion, the patient may have benefited more from neurotoxin, like Botox, to the masseter muscles, and liposculpture of the jowls and neck. In my opinion, targeted and conservative volume reduction in the lowest third of the face and sharpening of the neck would have not only slimmed her face but also kept her looking the most youthful.