Hip Dip Surgery: How It Works and More

Unhappy with the appearance of hip dips–the depressions that appear on either side of your pelvis? Hip dip surgery, also known as fat transfer lipoplasty to the hips, aims to achieve a smoother, traditionally hourglass figure by addressing indentations in the hip area. We’ll delve into the various surgical techniques employed, recovery expectations and potential benefits and drawbacks. 

By equipping yourself with this information, you can make an informed decision about whether hip dip surgery aligns with your aesthetic goals. Let’s dive in.

What are Hip Dips?

Hip dips are indentations where your leg meets the hip and curves into the buttocks. Sometimes called “violin hips,” they’re natural for some but can be a source of self-consciousness for others. Hip dip surgery aims to fill these indentations for a more contoured look.

What causes hip dips?

Hip dips are a result of a combination of factors, primarily stemming from your natural anatomy. The shape of your pelvis, specifically the position of your hip bone (iliac crest) in relation to your femur (thigh bone), plays a major role. In some individuals, the femur sits slightly below the hip bone, creating a more defined curve and a visible dip. 

Additionally, muscle mass and fat distribution can influence the prominence of hip dips. While building muscle in the glutes and surrounding areas can help soften their appearance, it won’t entirely eliminate them. Genetics also play a part in determining your overall bone structure and fat distribution. 

Are hip dips normal?

Hip dips are a natural body shape variation and are not a sign of unfitness or poor health. Many women have hip dips, and most don’t mind them at all! But if hip dips are a concern for you, exploring body contouring treatments for them can be empowering. Remember, there’s no single “ideal” body type, but achieving a silhouette that makes you feel confident is a worthy pursuit.

How is Hip Dip Surgery Performed?

If you want to address prominent hip dips and achieve a more balanced, contoured appearance, hip dip surgery offers a potential solution. This class of cosmetic procedures–some of which are actually non-invasive treatments–aims to fill out the indentations in the outer thigh, creating a smoother transition between the hip and buttocks.

Fat transfer

Also known as a fat grafting procedure, this treatment involves your plastic surgeon performing liposuction to remove unwanted fat in areas like your abdomen, thighs or flanks. This extracted fat then becomes your body’s own natural filler, processed and purified for safe re-injection into your hip dips. This plastic surgery offers long-lasting results, as the transferred fat cells typically survive and integrate into the new location.

Because this procedure involves harvesting fat from another area of the body, it’s often performed alongside a tummy tuck, breast reduction, mommy makeover or other cosmetic surgery involving lipo.

Fillers

Injectable dermal fillers like Sculptra can be directly injected into the hip dip area for volume and a smoother contour. Fillers offer a non-surgical option for adding volume and smoothing out indentations. However, compared to fat transfer, they generally provide temporary results, typically lasting 1-2 years.

Brazilian butt lift

A Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) can indirectly improve the appearance of hip dips through fat transfer. During a BBL, liposuction removes unwanted fat from areas like the abdomen or flanks. This harvested fat is then meticulously processed and injected into the buttocks and, in some cases, strategically placed around the hips. 

By adding volume in these specific locations, a BBL creates a smoother transition between the waist, hips and thighs. This can visually diminish the indentation of the hip dips and achieve a more rounded, hourglass figure.

Am I a Good Candidate for Hip Dip Surgery?

Is hip dip surgery for you? Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Overall Health: You should be in good physical health with no underlying medical conditions that could complicate surgery or recovery.
  • Body Weight: Ideally, you should be close to your ideal body weight and maintain a stable weight for optimal results.
  • Skin Quality: Good skin elasticity is important for optimal fat graft survival.
  • Harvestable fat: You must have enough fat elsewhere on your body to be grafted to the hip area; if not, fillers may be a more suitable option.
  • Realistic Expectations: Have realistic expectations about the outcome. Hip augmentation aims to enhance your natural curves, not create a completely new body shape.
  • Non-Smoking: Smoking can impede healing and increase the risk of complications. Quitting smoking well in advance of surgery is recommended.

If you meet most of these criteria, consulting a board-certified plastic surgeon is the next step. They can thoroughly assess your individual anatomy, discuss your specific goals, and determine if hip augmentation is the right option for you. 

The Hip Dip Surgery Process: What to Expect

So, you’ve considered the options and decided to explore hip dip surgery further. Let’s break down the general steps involved in this procedure:

Consultation

At this meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your goals for hip dip correction, your medical history and any questions or concerns you may have. The surgeon will examine your anatomy, assess your candidacy for the procedure and recommend the most suitable technique (fat transfer, fillers or potentially a combination). If you decide on a fat transfer, they’ll identify the best possible donor sites and the amount of fat to be harvested based on your desired results. They’ll also explain the risks and benefits of hip dip surgery and provide you with realistic expectations regarding the outcome.

Pre-operative Instructions

Once you’ve decided to move forward, your surgeon will provide detailed pre-operative instructions. These may include stopping certain medications or supplements that could interfere with anesthesia or bleeding. You may also be advised to adjust your diet and avoid smoking for a specific period leading up to surgery.

Procedure 

First, you’ll be placed under local anesthesia with sedation, though general anesthesia might be used in some cases. The surgeon will make small incisions at the predetermined donor sites–usually the abdomen, flanks or thighs–to allow the insertion of a cannula, a thin tube connected to a suction device. Using the cannula, they’ll gently loosen and suction out the unwanted fat. This harvested fat is then carefully collected.

Not all the extracted fat is usable. The surgeon will utilize a special technique called centrifugation, to separate healthy fat cells from blood, anesthetic and other fluids. This purified fat becomes the key ingredient for your hip enhancement. 

Now comes the artistic part: the surgeon will meticulously inject the purified fat into specific areas of your hips. They’ll carefully consider depth, placement and volume to achieve a smooth and natural-looking curve. Tiny needles or cannulas are used for these injections, minimizing discomfort.

Recovery 

After the procedure, you’ll wear a compression garment to aid healing and minimize swelling. You can expect side effects like soreness and bruising lasting 1–2 weeks, but pain medication can help manage these. Plan for 1–2 days of downtime during which you’ll want to rest; once cleared by your surgeon, you can resume light activities.

Recovery time varies between patients, but it can take 8 weeks or more for a full recovery, with the final results taking up to 6 months as the transferred fat settles and integrates into the tissues.

While you might be eager to see your final results, remember that swelling can take time to fully resolve. The true transformation will become more evident as swelling subsides over the course of several weeks. Trust the process and focus on following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions for optimal long-term results.

What Happens If I Lose Weight After Hip Dip Surgery?

Wondering how weight changes might impact your results after a procedure for hip dips? It depends on whether you’ve gotten fillers or a fat transfer.

Unlike fillers, which are a pre-made substance injected into the area, fat transfer utilizes your own body fat. These transferred fat cells behave similarly to your natural fat cells. So, significant weight loss could cause the hips to lose some volume, potentially making the hip dips more noticeable again. As always, individual results may vary.

For optimal, long-lasting results, it’s recommended to maintain a relatively stable weight after fat transfer. Aim for a healthy weight range through a balanced diet and regular exercise. This will help you enjoy the sculpted silhouette achieved through surgery.

The Final Curve: Embracing You and Your Hips

Hip dips are a common body variation, and whether you choose to address them through surgery is a personal decision. Remember, a healthy body comes in all shapes and sizes. If you choose not to pursue surgery, embracing your natural curves and prioritizing overall health and well-being is a beautiful path too. Ultimately, the most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin. 

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual situation.

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