My personal perspective on one decade of dimple creation practice in the United Kingdom

Posted on the 25 April 2017 at 09:53

In traditional Asian folklore, the presence of a dimple suggests good fortune and fertility, while in the West it is simply viewed as cute and attractive. As a UK consultant aesthetic plastic (cosmetic) surgeon, I specialise in dimple creation surgery.

For centuries, facial dimples have been highly prized on the Indian sub-continent. Bollywood film stars and models are regarded as particularly beautiful if they are blessed with facial dimples. On the cheeks, dimples are a sign of beauty, particularly for women, and a dimple on the chin is regarded as a desirable attribute in a man.

In 2008, I noticed a marked and quite sudden increase in the number of enquiries coming into my practice for facial dimple creation. I believed this increase was largely due to the tremendous popularity of pop star and onetime X Factor judge, Cheryl Cole. She was a huge star, married to a Premier League footballer.

I was trained in the rather quirky art of dimple creation in Mumbai over twenty years ago. I never imagined that it would grow to become such a significant part of my UK practice, so much so that I now have a dedicated website for people interested in dimple creation,

Most facial dimple procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic making a small cut from inside the cheek wall. The surgery takes approximately 20-30 minutes. The effects of the local anaesthetic, however, last for around 90 minutes, so patients are advised not to eat or drink until they confirm that sensation in the mouth has completely returned to normal.

A natural dimple tends to occur where a line drawn from the corner of the mouth to the ear lobule and a line down from the outer canthus of the eye would meet. Generally, they are between 3cm and 4cm away from the corner of the mouth. The procedure costs around £ 1,000 and £1,500, if performed under local anaesthetic. Patients are seen one week and six weeks after surgery.

During the initial consultation, I would ensure that the patient is free of any infection or disease in the mouth which would prevent me carrying out the procedure. Most patients are young, healthy adults. However, I always undertake pre-operative screening to ensure that patients do not have any kind of systemic or local contra-indications to this type of aesthetic procedure, even it is considered minor and is being done under local anaesthetic.

After the procedure, I normally prescribe a 5-day course of broad spectrum antibiotics as well as advising the patient to keep the mouth clean by using antiseptic mouthwash. I advise the patient to take paracetamol if they are feeling uncomfortable.

The complications following the dimple creation procedure are generally very rare. The scar forms inside the cheek. The patient will be able to feel the scar by very gently pressing and feeling their cheek between fingers and thumb. This is called bimanual palpation. Infection is very rare.

Undercorrection is uncommon, with 7% of my patients requiring deepening of the dimple.

Overcorrection, too, is very rare but can be dealt with by releasing the scar and injecting absorbable dermal filler. Asymmetry can occur but is very rare. I do not personally charge for any revision surgery, if required. However, patients are asked to pay hospital fees and an administration charge.

There is a possibility of injury to the branches of the seventh nerve, or to the salivary gland or duct. Another important factor that patients should be made aware of during their initial consultation is the persistence of the dimple without smiling or moving the face for a period of anywhere between 1 week and 3 months.

A detailed, honest and transparent initial consultation with an experienced and well qualified plastic surgeon is key to the success of the procedure. Although dimple creation may appear simple, I strongly believe that it must be carried out by a qualified plastic surgeon who must be familiar in the anatomy of the cheek and have previous experience of facial dimple creation.


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