Dimples are typically found on the cheeks and on the chin, A dimpled chin is often called a “cleft chin.” A cleft chin forms when the underlying bone structure of the jaw grows with an indentation or groove in the center. Cheek dimples are naturally formed when the skin on top of a small defect in the cheek muscle sticks to the underlying connective tissue. Usually, these kinds of dimples are only visible when smiling.
Although both kinds of dimples are technically “flaws,” they don’t cause any trouble for the possessor and there are women and even some men (think Matthew McConaughey and Kurt Douglas) whose appearances are unquestionably enhanced by dimpled cheeks or a cleft chin. Of course, while some of us are envious of people with natural dimples, people who are “blessed” with them are sometimes anxious to erase this distinctive feature.
Whether you want to create or eliminate cheek dimples, the surgical procedure is relatively simple and can be performed in Dr. Yagoda’s office under local anesthesia. To create a dimple, Dr. Yagoda makes a small incision on the inside of the cheek. A small stitch using an absorbable suture is made to connect the cheek tissue to the skin at the site where the dimple is desired. When the suture is tied, it creates a dimple—mimicking the natural process by which a dimple is formed. There is no visible scar. For a few days and possibly weeks, the dimple will always be present but soon enough, it will only be visible when you smile. The dimple will be permanent long after the suture is absorbed but interestingly, the procedure is also fully reversible. Should you decide you want to remove the dimple, it can usually be done.
To remove a dimple in the cheek, Dr. Yagoda uses the same surgical procedure described above. Instead of stitching the skin to the cheek muscle, however, she frees the skin of the cheek from the underlying muscle where the dimple is present. If a superficial depression is still present, it can be made level with injectable filler.
To create a chin dimple or cleft chin, filler can be used or there are two possible surgical options. If the chin projection is adequate, Dr. Yagoda can make an incision from inside the mouth or under the chin and make a vertical groove in the bone. The overlying muscle is sutured to the groove and the skin will naturally form a dimple or cleft. If the chin doesn’t project far enough, Dr. Yagoda can use a chin implant that has been marked with a groove prior to surgery. The remaining portion of the surgery is the same as the option using your native bone. Both options will result in a cleft or dimpled chin.
Removing a cleft in the chin is a little more complicated than creating one and doesn’t always result in a perfectly smooth chin. As when removing a cheek dimple, Dr. Yagoda frees the skin from the underlying muscle and bone. But because the bone itself is grooved, a filler is required to cover the groove and getting the skin to lie smooth, without any kind of remaining depression, can be tricky—especially if the cleft was very deep.
Whether you’re interested in creating or removing a dimple, Dr. Yagoda will discuss your options during your consultation in her NYC office and help you weigh the pros and cons.
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