Can A Premaxillary Cartilage Implant Cause A Smile Deformity?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a rhinoplasty done about a year ago to extend and derotate my tip and columnella. In the process I also had a premaxillary implant which was inserted in the nasal spine area through an incision through the inside of my upper lip. All of these were rib cartilages.

Whatever the cause, my smile has been warped for the worst. Before surgery, when I smiled, my upper lip used to be mobile, flip up, and thick and my columnella and tip would also droop down resulting in a nice natural smile that wasn’t tense. Now my smile is frozen looking. My upper lip is thin, tense and my nose tip and columnellar are also wooden looking and do not move with my smile the way it used to. It looks off and disturbing according to many of my friends. I am very upset with this. Is this my tip and columnella rib work that is doing this or is it a result of my premaxillary graft? I would certainly like to remove my premax graft if this will fix my smile. Thank you very much.

A: When you add a lot of rib cartilage grafts to the tip of the nose and the underlying pyriform aperture/nasal spine area, there is the possibility of stiffening how the upper lip moves. While it is possible that it is the combination of the effects of all the cartilage grafts (I have no idea as to teh details of where they were placed exactly and their size), the most likely culprit is the premaxillary graft. Its removal would be a good place to start and would also not affect to any significant degree the rhinoplasty result. Whether it will produce a complete normalization of your smile can not be predicted and it is not known if that could ever be achieved even with removal of all of the rib cartilage grafts.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana