DR. ROLF BUCKNELL, considered a pioneer in rhino-augmentation, likes to tell the following story: A 28-year-old woman from one of the city’s big construction dynasties came to his office for a consultation. The first female in her family to show an interest in the business, she wanted to prove herself as a foreman on a job downtown. They didn’t take her seriously—her button nose, she felt pretty sure, was the culprit. Bucknell removed cartilage from the tip and used it to fortify the flanges on either side, then injected some of the patient’s own arm fat to plump up the bulb (the cauliflower ears he threw in gratis). By then a dead ringer for the young Karl Malden, she got the job—and now runs the company. Herewith, our list of the city’s fiercest cosmetic surgeons.

Osward Cobb

Trained originally as an art restorer, Cobb was the first to introduce woven fiberglass and Mylar to noninvasive torso resculpting. He favors low heat and blotters, synthetic gesso, flowable adhesives, and occasional inpainting. By the time he’s done, not even a vestige of Japanese paper remains visible, even in raking light. Effects are cumulative. Felix Rohatyn is said to be one of them.

Marianne Mars

For those who can’t tell their ass from their elbow, this cannula-wielding wizard is a lifesaver. Scars are hidden where the sun don’t shine—"If they look bad, I look bad." Some detect her handiwork in that guy on E. 73rd St. between Fifth & Madison who no longer looks like his sharpei. In an ethically slippery specialty, she’s the go-to gal for no-nonsense evaluations: “If you’ve been using your smile as an umbrella, I probably can’t help you.” Don’t get her started on litigators who come in asking for dimples just to win over juries.

Salvatore Sbaglio

Thirty years ago, Salvatore Sbaglio figured out how to grow hair on a billiard ball, and he’s seldom looked back. He has a reputation for tackling distinctly fringe operations with as much ingenuity as aplomb: one extreme trekker acquired a viable pair of hooves after Sbaglio worked out the kinks in the lab. A tireless visionary, he’s excited about new research on the transmigration of soles.

Rusty Gosh

Gosh made a name tattooing uncanny trompe-l’oeil décolleté on post-mastectomy patients of famed surgeon Gordon Kostinmacher. Now he’s hung out his own scalpel—though he’s not above using a Black & Decker finishing sander to avoid cookie-cutter results. Gosh also performs a battery of nonsurgical procedures, including the subjection of anything even the tiniest bit suspect to intense, pulsating scrutiny. He’s actively involved in developing a new anti-gravitational cream, which he applies by hand on his own time, however long it takes.

Maurice Faust

Faust’s practice is in its third decade, and he’s the author of two of the field’s backlist perennials, Halloween’s Over and Expressions You Can Afford. He is credited, too, with inventing the HICM protocol (“Hold it—the chisel is missing”). A former fox-trot medalist, he tends to have a following among other fox trotters. His proprietary spackling and suet compound is rumored to be why Lenin still looks so fabulous.

Barbara Podkin

Podkin specializes in cinching up sagging necks by going in directly through the throat and suturing invisibly from the inside. She also does a big repair business on patients who have been rendered excessively unflappable by overzealous use of Botox, an effect she mitigates with micro-injections of character harvested from more serious people. Occasionally she operates alongside her aunt, a landscape architect known for her privet hedges.