How Is A Mouth Widening Procedure Done?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have several questions regarding the mouth widening procedure. How is the procedure done and much can the procedure help? How natural are the results?  

A: In answer to your questions about mouth widening, also known as a lateral commissuroplasty:

1) The corners of the mouth can be moved outward  anywhere from 5 to 10mms per side. As a general rule, the corners of one’s mouth should not be any wider than that of a vertical line dropped down from the pupil of the eye. This is not a hard and fast rule but an historic aesthetic anthropometric one. It can be surprising how much difference a few millimeters can make. The procedure is done by a skin excisional method known as a Y-V advancement where triangles of skin are removed from a line drawn out from the corner of the mouth to the desired distance. The corners of the mouth are then brought out to that point and closed.

2) The corners of the mouth, as long as they are not extended too far, can look natural. There are fine line scars at the junction of the red of the lip and the skin at the corners of the mouth as a trade-off. Generally these scars are fairly discrete and not a distraction to the result.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana