How Is A Lip Reduction Done?

Q: I am interested in having lip reduction surgery some time in the near future. However, there is not much detailed information or before and after pictures regarding the procedure. Is it possible to enhance or alter the look of the cupid’s bow while simultaneously reducing the size of the upper and lower lips?

A: Lip reduction is far less common than its cousin lip augmentation. I would estimate that for every 1,000 lip augmentations done by any method, one lip reduction is done. Much like breast augmentation, lip enhancement is more glamorous than going the opposite direction. As a result, much less is written about it and very few pictoral results are available to be viewed. This does not mean that it is not done very successfully, just that the requests for it are very few.

Lip reductions are exclusively done from incisions further inside the lip. While it could be done by an incision at the junction of the lip skin (vermilion) and the facial skin, this would leave a visible scar. In addition, rolling the lip tissues outward  towards the incision, even while removing lip tissue, works against the objective of trying to show less lip. By removing excess lip tissue by an incision at the junction of the wet-dry line (vermilion-mucosal junction) just inside the visible lip rolls the lip inward helping to reduce its show.

By the way lip reductions are done, the cupid’s bow on the upper lip is not changed. While it could be changed through direct excision and flattening of the bow, this would again leave a small but visible scar at the central portion of the upper lip.  

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana