Smile Line Reduction

Q: Dr. Eppley, Would you mind telling me if I am correct in thinking that a smile line lip reduction would basically work in the opposite way as a lip lift in the sense that during a subnasal lip lift, a cut is made and a portion of skin is removed which essentially pulls the upper lip up, closer to the base of the nose, and alternatively a smile line reduction would be cutting out a portion of the upper lip on the inside of the mouth, pulling the lip inward, and thus appearing smaller? 

If this is the case, would it be fair to say that this procedure is not reversible? My only concern is that my lips at present are relatively thin, so how much smaller would you expect my upper lip to get? would it be comparable to the amount that appears to make a lip look larger during a subnasal lip lift?

Would lip fillers be an option after this procedure should a fuller lip be desired? 

Also, if one had this procedure done, would a subnasal lip lift still be an option for the future at any point down the road? 

Would it also be fair to say that you feel that I am not an ideal candidate for the more popular subnasal lip lift at my present age with my present facial aesthetics? As best as I can measure, I have figured that the length from the base of my nose to the lowermost part of my cupid’s bow (or at the center of my cupid’s bow) looks to be exactly 1.5 cm.

A: Your concept about the subnasal lip lift and the smile line reduction is correct. They both achieve some increased upper tooth show by removing tissue but do it at different ‘ends’ of the upper lip. The increased central upper lip size from a subnasal lip lift woule be equivalent to the upper lip reduction achieved by a smile line reduction. Any form of tissue removal on the upper lip is irreversible. Lip fillers can always be placed later into any such lip lift or reduction procedure.

Numbers aside whether one is a candidate for subnasal lip lift depends exclusively on whether the patient thinks they have too much skin between their nose and the upper lip.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana