Why 'hip dips' are normal, and removing them is unnecessary

Danielle Mansutti wants everyone to embrace their hip dips. (Photo: @danimansutti/Instagram)

Hip dips — the slight indent below the hip bone and before the thigh begins — became the trendiest body part of 2017 after many celebrities and influencers publicly declared it an imperfection. While body positive bloggers attempted to reclaim the hip dip and celebrate the pelvic curve, none have been as successful as Danielle Mansutti. 

In a Instagram post on Tuesday, Mansutti shared a body positive ode to the part. “If you have hip dips, just like I do, guess what — it’s normal! Sometimes I love mine and sometimes I don’t, but I’ve accepted that they are a part of me and are a normal thing…The more of us who post hip dips, the more normal it will become, and the more women will realize that they are COMPLETELY normal to have them.” Plus, she added, they serve a purpose. “They’re also a fantastic little dip in my legs to rest my snacks on, so I’m not complaining.”

Unfortunately, this attitude is far from the norm. Not only do a lot of people edit their hip dips out of photos, they edit them out of their lives. “For the 30 years I’ve been doing this, this combination of removing fat from the upper thigh and hip has been one of my most common procedures,” New York plastic surgeon Arthur W. Perry, M.D., FACS tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Perry notes that “the typical person has a little bit of fat over the hips, and then a depression — the hip dip – and then the fat over the outer thigh.”

This fat was once essential to survival. “We’re programmed as we were programmed 40,000 years ago and that is to store fat because 40,000 years ago it might have been a week between meals,” Perry says. “So we wanted to put as much fat on as possible, and these are simply storage areas. We no longer need those reserves of fat.” Hence why some people are so willing to eliminate that fat now.

It’s a simple and safe procedure if you’re in the hands of a board certified surgeon. “The treatment that works best is liposuction,” says Perry. “I often make one quarter-inch incision in the hip dip and go up to suction the fat above and down to suction the fat below. Usually we do this under general anesthesia. Since it’s such a small amount of fat, sometimes we can do it under local anesthesia with some sedation.”

However, this doesn’t mean everyone should do it. According to Perry, and as Mansutti points out in her post, this depression between fat is completely natural and common, and it deserves love, as proven by the thousands of women who honored their hip dips when this began trending a year ago.

The removal also is not the cure to all body woes. “It’s simple and safe when we don’t remove too much fat,” Perry states. “Which means, it’s not a method of weight loss.” He references a patient who was 194 pounds and 5’7 and wanted her hip dip to disappear. “I put her on a diet,” he says. “Her ideal weight should be no more than 160. If someone tries to suction that much fat, that’s when it becomes dangerous.”


But altering this aspect of the body is never medically necessary, like getting a nose job to fix a deviated septum. “This is ALWAYS an aesthetic issue. Never reconstructive or medically indicated,” Dr. Perry points out. 

What makes this whole thing even sillier is that the existence of a hip dip says nothing about your weight or having too much fat. “If you’re overweight, you don’t see much of that hip dip,” Perry says.

While the term hip dips is fresh, the obsession with them is anything but: “The terminology is brand new, but for 30 years this has been one of my most common procedures. It just has a new name and new visibility thanks to a trend of tighter clothing, like yoga pants, which show every little curve.”

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