Will a Corner of the Mouth Lift Help My Sagging Smile Line?

Q: I am interested in corner-of-the-mouth lift surgery? I tried injections to turn up the corners of the mouth but that didn’t work. Then I went to a plastic surgeon who told me a facelift would make the corner of my mouth look better…and it didn’t! Since injectable fillers and a facelift didn’t work, I read about this procedure on the corner of the mouth. That seems like it would work. Can you tell me about the scars? Thanks!

A: For the downturned corner of the mouth (frowning or upside down U-shaped smile line), neither injectable fillers or a facelift will be successful. Either one may help a little but not generally for mouth corners that are more than just a little down.

The corner of the mouth lift is a simple but very effective procedure for leveling out the smile line. While it is a very small procedure, it can easily be overdone if the plastic surgeon is not careful and go the other way, up too high. (i.e., joker’s smile) By removing a small triangle or heart-shaped piece of skin just above the corners of the mouth, the tail of the smile line is brought. This does result in a small scar, about 7mms or so, off of the corner of the mouth that points up in the direction of the ear. But it is a very small scar that fades quite quickly.

A corner of the mouth lift can be done at the same time as a facelift or can be done as a stand alone procedure. When done by itself, it can be done under local anesthesia in the office. There is no recovery or any significant swelling or bruising. Tiny sutures are removed in a week or for out-of-town patients only small dissolveable sutures are used.

The corner of the mouth lift is a ‘cute’ little procedure that really can make quite a difference in one’s smile.

Dr. Barry Eppley