In 2020, data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that nearly four million aesthetic surgical procedures on the face and the head were performed worldwide. In a year when the overall number of surgical procedures fell by 10.9%, face and head surgical procedures saw the smallest decline in numbers at 3.6%. Non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures, on the other hand, increased by 13.9%, showing that no matter how bad things can get, people will take care of their appearance as much as they can.

Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei thinks cosmetic practitioners, whether they’re surgeons, nurses, or a dentist like himself, can, in part, thank social media for all the traffic they’ve been seeing. “Everyone’s aesthetic IQ is going higher nowadays because everyone can see what a beautiful smile looks like or what the Russian lips look like,” Dr. Kambiz explains. “Everyone is more aware and initiated toward their cosmetics procedures.”

More often than not, people will look to the famous for cues on the latest trend in cosmetic surgery. Even though the taboo on cosmetic surgery is fading, the world’s still far from being completely accepting of and open about cosmetic procedures. For the most part, the average person can often do little more than guess the secrets of the celebrities that keep looking better as they age.

Some procedures, however, have results that are easier to spot than others. Buccal fat removal, also called cheek fat removal, is one such procedure. “A lot of people have had it done. If you look at someone’s older picture versus newer ones, it’s easy to notice,” explains Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei. “Some people are more vocal about their procedures. Other people will just say they lost weight. But if you’re looking at extreme hollowing in the cheeks, it’s that surgery for sure.”

The procedure’s popularity among celebrities is how it got the nickname “Hollywood Cheek.” The list of celebrities that allegedly had it is long, and it contains models and movie stars alike. Although usually performed by plastic surgeons, experienced cosmetic dentists can also perform it. “A lot of dentists do it in South America. That’s what got me involved. I thought if these guys are doing it, I’ll be able to learn too,” says Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei. He is one of the only dentists in the United States, as far as he knows, who performs the procedure.

“It’s a tricky procedure, and you’re not trained on it when you’re in school. It’s like dental implants; they don’t train you to do it,” Dr. Kambiz explains. “I learned it by working with plastic surgeons I know in California and, obviously, by continuing to do more and more research on it, seeing how other people are doing this technique.”

Dr Kambiz

Lots of practice certainly helped Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei hone his skills. So far, he reckons he’s done it over five hundred times. Although he doesn’t like to refer to what he does as “practicing,” Dr. Kambiz would concede that practice makes perfect. Perfection, or getting as close to it as possible, is essential because it’s one of the things that makes recovery shorter and easier on the patient.

“When patients come to me for buccal fat removal, they’re coming for that procedure alone. I don’t bundle it with other cosmetic procedures. I just focus on that,” Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei explains. “I pay a lot of attention to detail, and I try to do the procedure as quickly as possible. It lasts forty minutes, and it’s performed with local anaesthesia. People can go to work the next day.”

That little fat that he takes out — and he never takes out all the fat — can make a lot of difference to people. Facial fat is tough to lose, but when it’s gone, it’s noticeable. Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei has had patients with minimal fat removal report a massive boost in confidence and self-esteem.

“For a lot of people who are having a hard time losing weight, buccal fat removal is amazing because after I remove the fat, they all tell me everyone keeps asking them if they’ve lost weight,” Dr. Kambiz explains. “And in reality, they haven’t. It’s just that I removed the fat. So, it’s like an overnight weight loss for them.”

Still, Dr. Kambiz can be sure that his services will be sought by those who need weight loss and those who don’t. For his part, he’s ensuring his services stay within the means of the average folks who’d like to feel prettier. Keeping his pricing fair helps him not only change more lives but also ensure that he’s able to “practice” his skills and stay on top of his game. Practice makes perfect, and when people’s faces are at stake, perfection is what Dr. Kambiz wants to offer.

Written in partnership with Luke Linz

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