What Can Be Done For An Overdone Subnasal Lip Lift?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I had a subnasal lip lift a month ago and it clearly has been overdone. My upper lip, which now does show more teeth, looks like a snarl. My upper lip is too short. What I do not understand is how I could have only ended up with 12 mm of philtral length when I had 21 mm to start with? It sounds like 9 mm of upper lip skin was removed? Although that’s only 2 mm more than the maximum for females, it’s almost 4 mm (or double the maximum distance for females) that should be shortened for a male. Although we are only talking millimeters, that’s like a ‘moon shot’ missing it’s target by hundreds of thousands of miles! What can be done to fix an overdone lip lift?

A: A subnasal lip lift notoriously has 1 to 2 millimeters of ‘relapse’ so I would not rule out that some lengthening all occur despite how it feels. Given that it is just about a month after the procedure, I would start to stretch out the upper lip using your fingers and your tongue from the inside. You might be surprised what can happen by six months after surgery.

As for the techniques that plastic surgeons use to ‘mark’ their surgery, I can only speak for how I do it. It is important to mark out such surgeries beforehand using calipers and magnifying loupes to design the surgery. Just because it is marked out carefully does not always ensure a perfect result but without such precision in the plan the result will have no chance to be close to the desired goal. As the old motto goes ‘You Can Not Hit A Target You Do Not Have’.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana