Mouth Widening

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I am very interested in having a surgical procedure to make the width of my lips longer. (mouth widening procedure) I am fully aware of the pros and cons of this procedure but the pros do weigh out the cons. I’m just enquiring more information as to the procedure such as how long I would be out of work for and is this a procedure that I would need to have done frequently?

A: The mouth procedure to which you refer is technically known as a lateral commissuroplasty (mouth widening procedure) where the corners of the mouth are opened up at the skin level and the vermilion/mucosa lining is brought out to make the horizontal length of the mouth from corner to corner longer. (wider) When you speak to ‘do I need to have it done frequently’ you are likely referring to the potential for scar contracture which may require secondary release. While this is a risk, it is not an expected outcome and hopefully would not occur. Thus a successful mouth widening procedure would be a one time procedure with permanent effects. As a general rule the horizontal width of the mouth can be increased about 5mms per side for a total of a 1 cm mouth width increase.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana