Wish You Had Dimples? You Can Buy Some For $1,500

Dimpleplasty is a surgical procedure on the rise.

TZR/ Stocksy

“My mom and my brother have really beautiful dimples,” says Athena, 30, a Sacramento-based dental treatment coordinator. “Growing up, I always wanted to look like them.” She’s wanted her own for a long time. Looking at her “before” photos, Athena already appears younger than her 30 years, with smooth, flawless skin and rosy cheeks, but in “after” photos where she’s smiling, a child-like innocence washes over her face. It’s easy to spot the reason why — it’s her dimples. She purchased them back in 2021.

Dimpleplasty is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure meant to permanently create dimples on the cheeks, a facial feature commonly associated with youth and beauty. Dating back to the early 1960s, it’s by no means a new surgery, but it’s currently experiencing a resurgence, thanks to none other than TikTok. Scrolling through #dimpleplasty, which has already garnered millions of views on the app, you’ll see numerous videos documenting users' proudly showing off their newly purchase dimples. Interest in the surgery appears to be at an all-time high and is only expected to grow in the coming years.

The rise in dimpleplasty appears to be a part of a much larger plastic surgery trend at play — the move towards minimally invasive procedures to create smaller, subtler changes to the face, in addition to filler fatigue. “People are looking for ways to make themselves appear more youthful with other procedures besides filler,” says Dr. Jennifer Levine, M.D., a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City. She says that it’s the “simplicity, affordability, minimal recovery time” and its association with youth that makes it such a desirable surgery.

Read on to learn exactly what goes down during a dimpleplasty surgery, plus the cost and potential side effects.


A Brief Background On Dimples

Dimples are a genetic trait that occur in only about 20 to 30% of the world population, says Levine. “A dimple is naturally caused by a defect in the zygomaticus major muscle, which is involved in smiling.” Compared to traditional plastic surgery, which is meant to “fix” perceived flaws or deformities, dimpleplasty mimics or creates a natural deformity, albeit an attractive, much sought after one.

For many, the surgery adds the feature, but for some, it can recreate dimples that have faded over time. “The decrease in skin elasticity that comes with aging can make dimples appear less pronounced,” says Levine. Additionally, for some individuals that were born with only one dimple one side of their face, they can “choose to achieve symmetry by surgically creating another dimple,” says Dr Ramtin Kassir, M.D., a triple board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and founder of Kassir Plastic Surgery and Inside Beauty in New York City.

What Happens During A Dimpleplasty Procedure

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and requires virtually zero downtime. There are a few variations of surgical technique, but all are minimally invasive and don’t cause external scarring. Patients who have good skin quality [notably those ripe with collagen and elasticity] are great candidates, while those with fuller cheeks may require buccal fat removal “to create a more pronounced dimple effect,” says Levine.

It starts by having a patient suck in their cheeks. “The point of maximal hollowness is an ideal location for the dimple,” explains Dr. Nigar Ahmedli, M.D., a board-certified otolaryngologist specializing in facial plastic surgery at Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care in New York City. Most dimpleplasties today are performed from inside the mouth with sutures. The sutures help pull the dermal layer of the skin down into the muscle, says Dr. Peter Lee, M.D, a board-certified plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgeon and founder of WAVE Plastic Surgery Center in Los Angeles. Depending upon patient preference, Lee says that either smaller or larger/deeper dimples can be created. Once the incision heals and a scar is produced, you get — et voilà — dimples.

Athena described her surgery and recovery as “easy.” “I was awake during the entire procedure,” she says. “I had to take antibiotics before my appointment and the surgery took about 30 to 40 minutes. They [gave] me lidocaine and weaved [the sutures] through my cheek, forming two stitches [and] they created a dimple. The stitches that they use dissolve[d] over time.”

During Athena’s recovery from the procedure, her cheeks were a little sore from the stitches inside her mouth but she didn’t have to restrict her diet too much — just liquids and soft foods for the first couple of days to avoid aggravating the stitches.

Dimpleplasty Cost & Side Effects

The cost of dimpleplasty can range depending upon geographic location and surgeon. You can expect to pay on average between $1,500 to $3,500 for the procedure, but it could be more. “I paid $4,440 for the surgery and $200 extra for a shot in each cheek to prevent a keloid,” says Athena. A keloid, which is a thick, raised scar, is one of the risks associated with the procedure, in addition to an infection in the area if post-op care is not followed, and facial nerve damage, though rare, is always a possibility, says Kassir.

How Long Dimpleplasty Lasts

Though the surgery is intended to produce permanent dimples, Dr. David Shafer, M.D., a double board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of the Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue points out, “that there is a small recurrence rate where the dimples fade or disappear over time.”

As Athena healed, she grew to love her results from the surgery with each passing day. “It was hard for me to get used to them being permanent for a little while.” She says that after six months her dimples relaxed. “My dimples didn’t come out as deep as I wanted but I really love them because they look very natural. I used to get more compliments when they were deeper but now you can just see them when I smile and I love them.”

While a revision surgery is uncommon, Levine, says that patients can have the procedure again to create a deeper dimple that appears to have faded over time. She points out that while a plastic surgeon can go back in and make it appear more dramatic, once you actually go through with a dimpleplasty, it’s extremely hard to reverse. Like with any plastic surgery procedure, it’s important to consider the consequences, but especially with dimpleplasty, it can literally be digging a hole (quite literally) that’s extremely hard to get out of.