The beauty of a dimpled smile is epitomized by celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Jennifer Garner. Dimples exude an adorable, child-like appeal. Every time you coo over a little chubby baby, dimples included, you are answering to the call of evolution. We are naturally drawn to their cute faces, to nurture them instead of abandoning them – a postulation why we feel positive about a dimpled face. In addition to giving a natural charm, in come cultures dimples is also a sign of good luck. What is the science behind these flattering cheek indentations and how do plastic surgeons create dimples?
Science Behind A Dimple
The anatomical origin of dimples is in the “smile” muscles of the face. The “zygomaticus major” muscles are large muscles at the sides of the face that contracts to pull up the corners of your mouth, ie smile. The anatomical explanation for dimples is a split in this muscle. “Where there is a split void of muscle,” explains Consultant Plastic Surgeon Dr Chia Hui Ling, “the fascia in its place has strands that reaches to overlying skin, tethering it when you smile.”
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Forget myths and inventions that claim to create dimples non-surgically. Dimpleplasty or dimple creation surgery is the only way to create “new” dimples. Before the surgery, the plastic surgeon will discuss the location of the dimple with you. The procedure is performed through the inside of the mouth, via a small incision at the inside of the cheek. There is no cut in the skin. The surgeon will simulate the mechanics of a dimple by splitting the muscle and creating skin dimple with sutures. The procedure takes under an hour.
After the surgery, there will be a persistent indentation that is, strangely, there all the time to start. This will become shallower over time and, in a few weeks, voila – it will only appear when you smile. Initial swelling after surgery is mild and will last for a few days. The dimples will look their best in the next 2 to 3 months.
Dimpleplasty usually costs around $2000 – $4000. Complications include bleeding, infection and injury to nerves during surgery, but these are uncommon. “Take time to discuss the placement of the dimples before surgery, because it is a possibility that you may not be happy with the final position and symmetry of the dimples,” add Dr Chia.
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