Dimples are depressions in the cheek skin which appear when one is smiling. They usually are not apparent when one is not smiling in those have them naturally. Cheek dimples are an inherited trait and are reported as a genetically dominant one. Cheek dimples are most always on both sides and rarely on one side of the cheek only.
The cause of cheek dimples has been anatomically studied. It has been found to be the result of an abnormality of the major muscle elevator of the upper lip and corner of the mouth, the zygomaticus muscle. This muscle runs from the cheek bone down to the corner of the mouth. When a cheek dimple occurs, it is due to a split or hole in this muscle. When one smiles, the muscle contracts and this hole gets bigger, sucking down the overlying skin into it so to speak. This explains why a cheek dimple may not be seen when one is not smiling but is when one is.
Some people desire to have cheek dimples as they view it as an attractive facial feature. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, it is possible to make dimples (cheek dimple creation surgery) through a small operation. This is done by making a small incision on the inside of the cheek opposite the desired location of the dimple. Dissection is carried through the zygomaticus muscle and a small permanent suture is placed between the underside of the skin and the muscle. It is important not to overtighten this suture since it isn’t particularly natural to have dimples when one isn’t smiling. The procedure definitely creates some bruising and it’s biggest complication is that the dimple may not be permanent if the suture pulls through in the first few weeks after surgery. Usually small to moderately-sized dimples can be created but large or deep indentations require tissue removal which I don’t advise. It is best to do this procedure with the patient awake so I can see how the dimple looks when one smiles.
This procedure is reversible if one doesn’t like the results. It is relatively easy to cut the sutures within the first month or so after surgery which is in the time frame when one should know if the result is acceptable.