When Lea Michele was trending on Twitter this week, the internet wasn’t trolling her alleged inability to read or dishing out more Broadway drama.
Rather, social media was buzzing about her chiseled facial appearance.
The “Funny Girl” star posted a sexy selfie comparing herself to Lucia, the beautiful Sicilian working girl on “The White Lotus.” But the internet was quick to notice her resemblance to another trending character: an “it” girl who has undergone buccal fat removal.
The cosmetic procedure involves surgically removing the fat between the cheekbones and jaw bones, via incisions inside the mouth, to highlight one’s facial bone structure. People have been getting it done for decades, but the relatively simple, outpatient surgery is currently all the rage with young celebs and on TikTok, where the hashtag #buccalfatremoval has more than 125.5 million views.
“Over the past year there has been a significant rise in people asking for it,” Dr. Edward Chamata, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Texas, told The Post. Part of the appeal is the relative ease — it takes an hour at most, can be done under local anesthetic and costs $2,000 to $5,999. “It can also be easily added on to essentially any plastic surgery procedure, which is a benefit to a lot of people,” Chamata noted.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Ira Savetsky, author of the 2021 study “The Role of the Buccal Fat Pad in Facial Aesthetic Surgery,” told the Daily Beast that TikTok is also fueling interest in the procedure. “The reason why buccal fat pad removal is so popular is because the jawline has become really popular. Everyone wants a snatched jawline, that’s what the kids are saying these days,” he told the outlet.
On TikTok, there’s buzz that comely celebs with cutting cheekbones such as Sophie Turner, Bella Hadid, Zoe Kravitz and Dove Cameron have had it done, though it’s just speculation. Lea Michele’s representatives did not respond to request for comment for this story.
Scandal-prone cookbook author and model Chrissy Teigen has been forthright about her foray into the face-slimming surgery.
“I did that Dr. Diamond buccal fat removal thing here,” Teigen said on Instagram in 2021. “And since I quit drinking. I’m really seeing the results, and I like it … no shame.”
But the procedure is also controversial, with some warning that starlets will regret having their baby fat sucked away in their later years.
“Taking out fat in the face can age the face,” Dr. Stafford Broumand, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York City, told The Post. “[As you get older] you get skin laxity, you get deflation and changes in the quality of the collagen of the skin, as well as drooping of the skin and the loss of volume.”
And, hollow cheekbones aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. “The buccal fat removal trend that is running rampant through Hollywood right now is so insane to me,” TikToker Olivia Layne told The Post. “Baby faces are so beautiful — I don’t understand why the Hollywood girlies are trying to get rid of it.”
Broumand urges anyone who is determined to get plastic surgery to make sure their doctor shares their beauty ideals, and is, of course, a board-certified plastic surgeon.
“I can’t emphasize enough it’s just best to go to someone who’s board-certified in plastic surgery,” he advised. “Get someone who is qualified to talk to you about it, [as well as] someone who aligns with [your] aesthetics.”