Home Skin CareAnti-aging treatments Bichat balls: what are they, function and operation

Bichat balls: what are they, function and operation

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on
Bichat balls

Bichat fat balls have gained some prominence as it is suggested that they can be removed without problems to obtain a slimmer appearance of the face. But is this so, is there no problem in removing them? Bichat balls have essential functions, and removing them can have risks.

If you are interested in learning more about what Bichat balls are, their function, and their operation, called a discectomy, we invite you to read this article by FastlyHeal.

What are Bichat balls?

Bichat balls or buccal fat bodies are two fat structures on both cheeks. They are located precisely between two muscles: the masseter and the buccinator. They are surrounded by essential systems: the parotid gland, arteries, and facial nerve.

They are more pronounced during childhood to reduce their size with growth.

Bichat balls function

Because Bichat balls surgery has become fashionable lately, many have been tempted to pronounce that they are useless. That someone does not know their function does not mean they are worthless because they are there for something, right? Our body is too well designed for there to be plenty of things that we decide to do without them for aesthetic purposes. It is something else.

The best-known function of the Bichat balls is to serve as a cushion during chewing movements, as lubrication between these and the deeper muscles. The chewing muscles are one of the strongest in the body. Their action is practically permanent throughout the day. Taking care of the structures next to them (nerves, arteries, parotid) becomes necessary, facilitated by these balls of fatty tissue.

Another function is to provide heat, like all fatty tissue, thereby promoting thermal balance in the head.

On the other hand, it has been discovered that its tissue has a unique regenerative capacity because stem cells can be obtained from it. This type of tissue is advantageous to help repair dental or facial injuries, so it is prudent to keep it in case of future need.

Bichat balls operation

The Bichat balls operation, also known as discectomy, can be performed with different objectives:


Removing this tissue is sometimes done to modify facial features in people who want a slimmer face or women who feel that prominent cheeks give them more masculine traits.

Feminization surgeries

These surgical procedures make a male face more like a female one. It is usually indicated in transsexual people who resort to different techniques, including the Bichat ball surgery, to change the characteristics of their face.

Solve oral problems

In these cases, the properties of stem cells are used that have the possibility of differentiating and helping to close essential wounds. For this same, other areas of fatty tissue can be used, but the ease of performing the entire procedure from the mouth makes the Bichat balls an accessible tissue to use.

Facial reconstruction

In some cases, Bichat balls may need to be used to reconstruct an injury to the face or fill in an area where tissue is missing, such as may happen due to an accident.

What is discectomy

Bichectomy is a surgery that is usually performed inside the mouth, both with local and general anesthesia, depending somewhat on the objective of the surgery and if it is added to other surgical procedures.

Local anesthesia is used when you only need to work inside the mouth, as in the case of oral surgeries or when you only want to remove that greasy tissue for cosmetic purposes.

Instead, general anesthesia may be required when resection of the balls of Bichat is in addition to other procedures (as in the case of feminization or reconstruction of facial lesions).

A substance is usually placed that reduces bleeding momentarily and then makes a small incision in the inner area of ​​the cheek. Sometimes surgery can be performed on the external site of ​​the cheek, significantly if it is associated with another surgery in that area, such as a facelift.

The work must be careful since, near the balls of Bichat, there are fundamental structures such as the parotid, arteries, and the facial nerve. Touching or hurting them can lead to severe complications, such as altered salivation, bleeding, or facial paralysis.

When the purpose is dental, tiny portions of the balls may suffice, with which the appearance of the face does not change. The amount of material removed will depend on how much you want to narrow your cheeks for cosmetic purposes. When excision is needed to reconstruct, the amounts are variable, and for extensive resections, it should be done on both sides of the face to preserve its symmetry.

Once the desired amount of fatty tissue has been removed and bleeding is controlled, the incision is closed.

Bruising, swelling, and pain may appear the following days, which can be treated with cold compresses and pain relievers. Sometimes antibiotics may be indicated.


This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Bichat balls: what are they, function, and operation, we recommend that you enter our category of Aesthetic treatments.

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