Nurse’s Notes: Buccal Fat Pad Excision and Grafting

Posted: July 27, 2018 in Nurse
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In the department I am working right now, we always use artificial bone to patients requiring bone grafting. We utilize bone fragments from animals rather than using patient’s own bone. But not today. We’ll be doing buccal fat pad.

What is buccal fat pad? Why is it use for grafting?

A male patient came with oroantral communication, an opening in his maxillary bone after tooth extraction. The surgeon laid out his plan to solve patient’s problem. Buccal pad fat excision and grafting was introduced to the patient. It was the first time the patient heard about this surgery. So the doctor explained it to the patient.

Buccal fat pad is among the many encapsulated masses of fat in both sides of the cheek, deep between the buccinator muscles and other inferior muscles. It usually functions for chewing and sucking from infancy to adulthood. It also acts as cushion during mastication and protection to facial nerves.

Doctors uses buccal fat pad during facial recontouring or to achieve good results of facelift. In some cases, it is utilize for the reconstruction of periorbital area after trauma. Maxillofacial surgeons make use of buccal fat pad if they have patients with oroantral communication problems.

A study about the use of buccal fat pad in maxillofacial surgery was done and explained it’s importance and success rate. You can read the study here.

As a nurse assisting the procedure, you are required to maintain peri- operative protocols at all times. Ensure that the patient understands the procedure before he signed the consent. Obtain medical history and assess patient’s vital signs accordingly. Laboratory and radiology report must be coordinated well with other members of the health team. Ensure patient was prepared for surgery. If you’re going to assist inside the operating theater, always maintain sterility and don’t forget proper body mechanics.

After assisting the buccal fat pad excision and grafting, I found a few things. It is a minor procedure that can be done quickly and with lesser morbidity. Locating a buccal fat pad is not always easy as it is sometimes hidden.

As a bonus here’s a photo of the actual buccal fat pad from one of our patient.

The first patient who undergone a buccal fat pad excision and grafting with us just came after we finished with the patient. We did her surgery two weeks ago and the healing was found to be good. Hurray for that!

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