Rib Removal for a Smaller Waist: What are the risks?

Pixiee Fox, model and body modification artist had six ribs removed

For most women, having a tiny waist and a contrasting hips is an epitome of an ideal classic beauty that many would kill to have. There’s something so incontestably sexy about a woman with an hourglass shape. For women born without the ladylike curves they desire, they resort to going under the knives for plenty of body enhancement options such as Brazilian butt lifts, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and lots of others. Ladies who yearn for an extremely smaller waist may consider rib removal from their mid-section.

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Rib removal for a more show-stopping figure has been around since the Victorian era, when most women use corsets. The topic of rib removal became popular once again in the 70s, when it was rumored that Cher had her procedure done to achieve a narrow waist.

Only a few plastic surgeons in the United States perform rib removal today due to the risks and potential complications related to this surgery. The ribs cover some of the body’s most vital organs, so it’s essential to understand rib removal surgery.

Rib Removal: The Procedure

Rib removal involves extracting the lower ribs to create a slimmer waist contour. Most commonly, the 12th, 11th, and occasionally the 10th ribs are removed. The 11th and 12th ribs are known as “floating” ribs, which means they only cover the organs from the back and not the front. The 10th rib covers both the front and back, which is why some surgeons who perform rib removal feel it’s unsafe to remove this rib.

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Rib removal is performed under general anesthesia, meaning the patient will be unconscious during the entire procedure. There is a very extensive recovery time associated with rib removal. In some cases, it may take up to six months for the pain to totally disappear. There will be a scar left on the patient’s back, where the cuts were made.

Is Rib Removal Too Risky?

According to most board-certified plastic surgeons, rib removal surgery is too dangerous of a procedure to be performed simply for cosmetic reasons. The main function of the ribcage is to protect vital organs.

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Even the last ribs that are removed during rib removal surgery are positioned around some very important body parts such as the gallbladder, kidneys, and even part of the stomach. Generally, rib removal is performed for necessary reasons like bone cancer or health-related problems with developmental growth.

In order to meet the demand for rib removal in America, the procedure is commonly performed overseas during a plastic surgery vacations where safety requirements are more negligent. Beware of false claims from overseas plastic surgeons because the surgery cannot be reversed since ribs do not grow back.

Alternatives to Rib Removal

It is quite possible to achieve a small waist without going through rib removal surgery. In many cases, plastic surgeons say that a beautifully pleasing waist to hip ratio has little to do with ribcage structure. Instead, it has much more to do with the fat distribution of that area. Cardio exercise like quick-paced walking and running can be effective at burning the fat from your waist.

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A tummy tuck is an effective procedure that removes fat from the midsection, instantly pulling your waist inward. Also, procedures that can help accentuate a smaller waist include Brazilian butt lifts and hip augmentation that can help accentuate the look of a smaller waist by increasing the curves of the lower body.

In a nut shell, instead of rib removal, go for:

  • Cardio exercises
  • Tummy tuck
  • Brazilian butt lifts
  • Hip augmentation


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