8 Plastic Surgery Procedures You Didn’t Know Existed
You likely know about Botox, facelifts, and liposuction. But have you ever heard of dimpleplasty? Maybe not. These are the unusual procedures plastic surgeons are performing out of the spotlight and under the radar
There are about 17.7 million cosmetic procedures performed each year, according to a 2018 report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Of those, the majority—15.9 million—are minimally-invasive procedures, including injectables and fillers and chemical peels. Less than two million are surgical procedures, like breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and liposuction. But there are lesser-known procedures, too, that address problems you never knew needed fixing. Here are eight of them.
Buccal fat removal
Cheekbones are all the rage these days, and you may already know that doctors are using dermal filler to add definition to the bone, according to the ASPS. But in addition to injecting cheekbones to sculpt them, doctors are also removing fat. Buccal fat removal is also called a cheek reduction and is a procedure that slims the fat pads in the cheeks to reveal more defined cheekbones, according to the ASPS.
“Buccal fat removal is a little-known procedure that’s generally performed for patients who say they have chipmunk cheeks that make them look like their older family members,” says Brent Moelleken, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, who performs the surgery about three times a month. If you’re interested in buccal fat removal, just be sure you’re 100 percent committed to this procedure, as very few doctors know how to reverse the effects, so it’s generally considered permanent, explains Dr. Moelleken. You can also try these makeup tricks that make you look more awake.
Anyone who has ever over-tweezed their brows knows what a pain it is to fill them in with pencil or powder every morning. A more permanent solution is an eyebrow transplant, which a 2017 study in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery calls a “popular procedure.” During a transplant, the surgeon takes hair from the “donor site” (like the back of the head) and transplants it to the brow area. Once the desired brow shape has been created, hair will begin to grow as it did in its original location, so regular trimming will be needed.
“Over-plucking of the eyebrows is the most common reason people are looking to restore them,” explains Miami facial plastic surgeon, Jeffrey Epstein, MD. He performs three to four transplants a week, with 70 percent of his clients being women aged 35 to 45. Dr. Epstein cites aging as another factor that leads to thinning hair, so it’s not uncommon to see men and women over 50 also seeking out the treatment.
Dimpleplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that provides permanent dimples on the cheek or chin. This surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia. A surgeon punches a hole in the cheek and passes a suture through where it’s tied off to create a natural-looking dimple. “The decision to perform dimpleplasty requires a detailed discussion with the patient to understand their wishes and make sure they understand the risks and benefits,” says David Shafer, MD, New York City plastic surgeon. “Unlike fillers that can be dissolved or Botox, which always metabolizes away in three to five months, surgical procedures give permanent results.” One thing to remember, warns Dr. Shafer, is that while natural dimples usually occur when someone smiles, “dimples created by dimpleplasty can sometime occur even at rest, especially during the first few weeks to months after surgery.”
This procedure does involve blood but thankfully has nothing to do with Dracula. The vampire facelift is a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure that involves drawing your blood, processing it to isolate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and then re-injecting it to erase wrinkles and create a more youthful look. Your provider will also inject hyaluronic acid fillers to plump up areas that need it. Platelets are your blood’s way of calling 911, says Kevin Sadati, MD, a plastic surgeon in Orange County, California. “They contain growth factors and healing properties that boost the immune system,” he explains. Over time, you can see around 10 to 15 percent more volume in your face, which can last a few years. Learn how a vampire facial is different, along with other bizarre-sounding cosmetic treatments.
Listen up: Some people are unhappy with the ears they were born with. Ear surgery, or otoplasty, surgically moves the ears closer to the head and permanently corrects protruding ears, bringing them into better proportion with the face, notes the ASPS. This 45-minute-per-side procedure can be done in the office under local anesthesia in adults and in the operating room under sedation for children. “The results are quite life-changing for most patients,” says Michelle R. Yagoda, MD, board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City.
If you’ve wished for permanently full lips or you’re tired of seeing the effects of aging around the mouth, the lip lift might be an option for you. The procedure (also called “lip shortening surgery”) reduces the distance between your lips and your nose (lip-to-nose ratio). “The main problem is that the elongated space makes the top lip sag and look thinner. Once the length of the space is shortened a tiny bit, it gives the entire face a more youthful appearance,” says Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD, a plastic surgeon in Baltimore, Maryland. Unlike temporary lip fillers, a lip lift procedure involves taking a strip of skin from the part of the lip right under your nose. “I love doing this procedure because it makes such a big difference,” says Dr. Rodriguez. (Here are 8 things you should know before getting breast reduction surgery.)
CoolSculpting for under the chin
Exercise can’t spot reduce—and it won’t get rid of a double chin. CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared treatment that can remove smaller pockets of fat, like underneath the chin. Think of it as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. Sheila Nazarian, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, explains that results are seen at two months, and typically one to three treatments will be necessary on each area to achieve ideal results. “The best candidates are those who are in pretty good shape with areas of stubborn fat that won’t go away no matter what,” she says.
While most natural belly buttons are not perfectly round, a lot of people desire an almost-perfect innie. Loose skin, hernias, or a post-pregnancy outie are a few main reasons for those seeking belly button surgery, or umbilicoplasty. Umbilical reconstruction changes the shape of the belly button or requires the creation of a new belly button, and it can be performed alone or as part of another surgery such as a tummy tuck or breast reconstruction. Seek out the expertise of a board-certified plastic surgeon. “Not all patients have the goal of wearing a two-piece swimsuit, but many do, and I want these patients to be able to do so without feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their new belly button,” says Michael Law, MD, a plastic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, learn about these fascinating facts about your belly button.
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS): “2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report”
- ASPS: “Cheek Augmentation”
- ASPS: “Buccal Fat Removal”
- Brent Moelleken, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California
- Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery: “The Science and Art of Eyebrow Transplantation by Follicular Unit Extraction”
- Jeffrey Epstein, MD, facial plastic surgeon in Miami, Florida
- David Shafer, MD, plastic surgeon in New York City
- The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery: “The Dimpleplasty: A New Streamlined Approach to Surgical Creation of Dynamic Facial Dimples, Our Experience, and Results”
- Kevin Sadati, MD, a plastic surgeon in Orange County, California
- ASPS: “Otoplasty”
- Michelle R. Yagoda, MD, board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: “Lip Shortening Surgery—Often Overlooked in Facial Reconstruction”
- Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD, a plastic surgeon in Baltimore, Maryland
- CoolSculpting: “Ditch That Double Chin”
- Sheila Nazarian, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California
- Acta Biomedica: “Umbilical Reconstruction: Different Techniques: A Single Aim”
- Michael Law, MD, a plastic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina