How Are Cheek Dimples Made?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, what can you tell me about this new procedure of making cheek dimples?

A: There have been media reports recently that talk about a ‘new’ plastic surgery procedure known as dimpleplasty. While this has been touted as being new, it really is not. The actual procedure of making dimples dates back several decades.

Cheek dimples are actually anatomic defects in the zygomatic muscles which run between the lips and the cheeks. This is an important muscle for smiling as it helps lift up and out the upper lip. In someone with cheek dimples, this muscle has a split in it. When someone smiles and the zygomatic muscle contracts, the split in the muscle separates which allows the skin overlying the split to be pulled inward. Thus a cheek dimple is really a hernia in the muscle. How big and where it is located determines the location and the size of the dimple.

In cheek dimpleplasty, a small incision is made inside the cheek where a split in the muscle is created. This allows the underside of the cheek skin at the desired dimple location to be sewn or attached to the inside of the cheek lining. This creates a scar or attachment that will lead to dimples when one smiles. This is a simple outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia so the dynamics of smiling and the dimple effect can be seen. There really is not recovery other than some mild cheek swelling. The biggest risk of the surgery is that the cheek dimples may be less or even more noticeable than desired. (depth of the dimple)

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana