Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 427–436 | Cite as

A review of the gross anatomy, functions, pathology, and clinical uses of the buccal fat pad

  • Saad Yousuf
  • R. Shane Tubbs
  • Christopher T. Wartmann
  • Theodoros Kapos
  • Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol
  • Marios Loukas


The buccal fat pad is a trigone-shaped adipose tissue located in the cheek that assumes numerous functional and aesthetic clinical uses. It has been studied extensively within the past four decades, and its use in repairing common and debilitating oral defects is the motive for continued research on this topic. It is vital to understand the etiology of any oral defect or of a lesion of the buccal fat pad, for a misdiagnosis can prevent effective treatment of the underlying problem. In this review, we describe the embryology and anatomy of the buccal fat and its association with clinical condition and clinical procedures.


Buccal fat pad Cleft palate Buccal fat pad lipoma Buccal fat pad herniation 


  1. 1.
    Amin MA, Bailey BM, Swinson B, Witherow H (2005) Use of the buccal fat pad in the reconstruction and prosthetic rehabilitation of oncological maxillary defects. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 43:148–154CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bagdade JD, Hirsch J (1966) Gestational and dietary influences on the lipid content of the infant buccal fat pad. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 122:616–619PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baumann A, Ewers R (2000) Application of the buccal fat pad in oral reconstruction. J Oral Maxilofac Surg 58:389–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bichat F (1802) Anatomie Generale, Applique a la Physiologie et a la Medecine. Brosson Gabon and Cie, ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brooke RI, MacGregor AJ (1969) Traumatic pseudolipoma of the buccal mucosa. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 28:223–225CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Browne WG (1970) Herniation of the buccal fat pad. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Path 29:181–183CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dean A, Alamillos F, Garcia-Lopez A, Sanchez J, Penalba M (2001) The buccal fat pad flap in oral reconstruction. Head Neck 23:383–388CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dubin B, Jackson IT, Halim A, Triplett WW, Ferreira M (1989) Anatomy of the buccal fat pad and its clinical significance. Plast Reconstr Surg 83:257–262CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    DuBrul EL (1980) Sicher’s oral anatomy, 7th edn. Mosby, St. Louis, p 213Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Egyedi P (1977) Utilization of the buccal fat pad for closure of oro-antral/oro-nasal communications. J Maxillofac Surg 5:241–244CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fan L, Chen G, Zhao S, Hu J (2002) Clinical application and histological observation of pedicled buccal fat pad grafting. Chin Med J 115:1556–1559PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gallia L, Rood SR, Myers EN (1981) Management of buccal space masses. Otolayngol Head Neck Surg 89:221–225Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gaughran GR (1957) Fasciae of the masticator space. Anat Rec 129:383–400CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hai HK (1988) Repair of palatal defects with unlined buccal fat pad grafts. Oral Surg 65:523–525CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jackson IT (1999) Anatomy of the buccal fat pad and its clinical significance. Plas Reconstr Surg 103:2059–2060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kahn JL, Wolfram-Gabel R, Bourjat P (2000) Anatomy and imaging of the deep fat of the face. Clin Anat 13:373–382CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kurabayashi T, Ida M, Tetsumura A, Ohbayashi N, Yasumoto M, Sasaki T (2002) MR imaging of benign and malignant lesions in the buccal space. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 31:344–349CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Li WT, Xu DC, Zhong SZ (1993) Applied anatomy of the buccal fat pad transposition for the treatment of soft tissue defects in the maxillofacial region. Chin J Clin Anat 11:165–170Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Loukas M, Kapos T, Louis RG Jr, Wartman C, Jones A, Hallner B (2006) Gross anatomical, CT and MRI analyses of the buccal fat pad with special emphasis on volumetric variations. Surg Radiol Anat 28:254–260CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Marano PD, Smart EA, Kolodny SC (1970) Traumatic herniation of buccal fat pad into maxillary sinus: report of case. J Oral Surg 28:531–533PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Matarasso A (1991) Buccal fat pad excision: aesthetic improvement of the midface. Ann Plast Surg 26:413–418CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Matarasso A (1997) Pseudoherniation of the buccal fat pad: a new clinical syndrome. Plast Reconstr Surg 100:723–730CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Matarasso A (2002) Pseudoherniation of the buccal fat pad: a new clinical syndrome: follow-up. Plast Reconstr Surg 112:1716–1718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Poissonet CM, Burdi AR, Bookstein FL (1983) Growth and development of human adipose tissue during early gestation. Early Hum Dev 8:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rácz L, Maros TN, Seres-Sturm L (1989) Structural characteristics and functional significance of the buccal fat pad (corpus adiposum buccae). Morphol Embryol 35:73–77Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rodgers GK, Myers EN (1988) Surgical management of the mass in the buccal space. Laryngoscope 98:749–753CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Shibahara T, Watanabe Y, Yamaguchi S, Noma H, Yamane GY, Abe S, Ide Y (1996) Use of the buccal fat pad as a pedicle graft. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 37:161–165PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stuzin JM, Baker TJ (1989) Discussion of Anatomy of the Buccal Fat Pad and Its clinical significance by Dubin B, Jackson IT, Halim A, Triplett WW, Ferreira M. Plast Reconstr Surg 82:263–264Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Stuzin JM, Wagstrom L, Kawamoto HK, Baker TJ, Wolfe SA (1990) The anatomy and clinica applications of the buccal fat pad. Plast Reconstr Surg 85:29–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tart RP, Kotzur IM, Mancuso AA, Glantz MS, Mukherji SK (1995) CT and MRI imaging of the buccal space masses. Radiographics 15:531–550PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tideman H, Bosanquet A, Scott J (1986) Use of the buccal fat pad as a pedicled graft. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 44:435–440CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Woldford D (1981) Traumatic herniation of the buccal fat pad: report of case. J Am Dent Assoc 103:593–594Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Xie WY, Zhang KQ (1981) The anatomical study of the buccal fat pad. Chin J Stomat 16:199–205Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Yousif NJ, Gosain A, Matloub HS, Sanger JR, Madiedo G, Larson DL (1994) The nasolabial fold: an anatomic and histologic reappraisal. Plast Reconstr Surg 93:60–69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Zhang H-M, Yan Y-P, Qi K-M, Wang J-Q, Liu Z-F (2002) Anatomical structure of the buccal fat pad and its clinical adaptations. Plast Reconstr Surg 109:2509–2518CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Zhong LP, Chen GF, Fan LJ, Zhao SF (2004) Immediate reconstruction of maxilla with bone grafts supported by pedicled buccal fat pad graft. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 97:147–154Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Zipfel TE, Street DF, Gibson WS, Wood WE (1996) Traumatic herniation of the buccal fat pad: a report of two cases and a review of the literature. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 38:175–179CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saad Yousuf
    • 1
  • R. Shane Tubbs
    • 2
  • Christopher T. Wartmann
    • 3
  • Theodoros Kapos
    • 4
  • Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol
    • 5
  • Marios Loukas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of MedicineSt. George’s UniversityGrenadaWest Indies
  2. 2.Pediatric NeurosurgeryChildren’s HospitalBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of Maryland Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biomaterials and Advanced ProsthodonticsHarvard School of Dental MedicineBostonUSA
  5. 5.Clarian Neurosurgical Group and Department of NeurosurgeryIndianapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations