How Much Skin Can Be Removed In A Subnasal Lip Lift?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in a subnasal lip lift. I have a long upper lip and I think it would make my face more balanced and attractive. I have not read anywhere on how one determines the amount of skin that can be removed between the lip and the cupid’s bow. I want the maximum to be removed but I still want it to look natural and not be overdone. I want to increase the size of my upper to the maximum as it is basically non-existent now. Also, will the subnasal lip lift increase the size of the whole upper lip and not just the cupid’s bow directly underneath the nose? Thank you.

A: In a subnasal lip lift, you do not want to remove more than 1/4 to 1/3 of vertical distance as measured along the philtral columns. Whether that is 6 or 8mms is a judgment between aggressiveness but also wanting to avoid an unnatural and potentially irreversible overdone result. Applying the principle that it is easier to remove more later but you can’t reverse it, I would take no more than 6 to 6.5mms of skin. Also a subnasal lip lift will not change the amount of exposed vermilion out to the mouth corners, it will only change the upper in teh middle third or within or under the nose area.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana