By: Melanie Rud
Hip dips, also known as violin hips, refers to an inward curve on the sides of the body, right below the hip bone and above the thigh. They’re a completely normal part of many women’s anatomy, and they can be more or less noticeable, depending on the amount of fat and muscle mass in the area. Because hip dips are created by the shape of the pelvis, they can be nearly impossible to get rid of through exercise if they bother you—which leads some to the plastic surgeon’s office.
“The most common thing people ask for [with hip augmentation] is to smooth out hip dips,” explains Dr. Pat Pazmino, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Miami. There are several different ways to do so, some of which are also effective solutions for those who simply want to increase the size of their hips and have more of an hourglass figure. Here is everything you need to know about three hip augmentation options.
1. Fat transfer
Also known as fat grafting, the experts we spoke with say that this is one of the most popular and effective options. While it’s often combined with other procedures—full-body liposuction, Brazilian butt lift—this type of hip augmentation is commonly done as a stand-alone procedure for patients who want to soften the lateral contour of their gluteus muscles, the so-called hip dips, says Dr. Ruth Celestin, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Riverdale, Georgia. “The fat serves to fill this area in and continue the round curvature from the buttocks to the hips,” she explains. The fat is first harvested via liposuction (it can come from anywhere on the body where it’s unwanted, notes Dr. Pazmino) and then injected into the hip dip. If the concave area is very deep—i.e., if the hip dip is very prominent—the best option is to pair the fat grafting with liposuction, to slim the area both above and below it. “By smoothing out those spots and adding volume into the hip dip, you tend to get a smoother and better result,” Dr. Pazmino explains.
Plan on about four to five days of downtime plus a full two weeks of recovery before you can completely resume normal activities, says Dr. Pazmino. Potential side effects include swelling, bruising, discomfort, and the potential for lumps and bumps, he adds. (Also keep in mind that liposuction is a surgical procedure, which comes with the potential for complications such as infection and bleeding, says Dr. Celestin.) Technically speaking, the results are permanent—but not all of the fat that’s transferred will survive. Approximately 70% will stay there for life, but the other 30% of the moved fat will melt away, explains Dr. Pazmino. Most doctors will typically compensate for this by adding more than what’s needed to achieve the end goal, he adds. The cost for this type of hip augmentation varies, based on where you’re located, which provider you choose, and how much liposuction is being done, but the experts we spoke with say it can range anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.
2. Injectable filler
For patients who don’t want to undergo surgery or are too slender and simply lack the fat stores needed for fat grafting, Dr. Celestin says that Sculptra is a popular alternative (though this is an off-label use of the injectable). It’s made of poly-L-lactic acid, a synthetic material that stimulates collagen production and ultimately creates more volume. The injections are quick and easy, with no anesthesia or downtime required. The drawbacks? Results will last only about two years, and the costs can quickly add up. “Injections cost, on average, $1,000 to $1,500 per vial, and a full correction of the hips may take 5 to 10 vials and several rounds of treatment, depending on the desired outcome,” notes Dr. Celestin. “It’s fair to say that this is a good option for smaller augmentations, but someone with very deep hip dips will definitely end up spending more on Sculptra than on surgery.”
3. Hip implants
Cosmetic hip implants, made of a semisolid silicone similar to that of a breast implant, are another option, explains Dr. Celestin. Unlike with a fat transfer, there’s a guaranteed consistency of volume and implants are a permanent solution—both factors that draw people to this option. They’re also effective for those who may not be concerned about hip dips but do want larger hips; Dr. Celestin notes that they’re popular with her male-to-female transgender patients. Because this is a surgical procedure, plan on about a week of downtime. Risks include infection, bleeding, implant movement, and the ultimate need for implant removal. It’s a costly treatment too—about $8,000 to $10,000, according to Dr. Celestin. Also worth noting: Silicone implants are not the same as silicone injections, which are illegal and very dangerous, she cautions. Similarly, Dr. Pazmino warns that he’s seen patients who have had all kinds of crazy substances (emphasis on crazy) injected into the hips—including bathroom caulking, melted lard, and motor oil. It further goes to underscore the importance of always seeking out trained, certified doctors, not only for hip augmentation but for any cosmetic procedure.