Short/tight upper lip after open rhino. Will this change with time?

I had an open rhinoplasty 38 days ago. The area underlying the external incision is tight, making it difficult to pull my upper lip down as when smacking the lips together. Though it causes no pain, it pulls uncomfortably on the incision site and restricts certain lip movement. The tip is also completely immobile vertically regardless of my facial expression or movement of my mouth. Will either of these things change with time? Are there things I can do to improve function and comfort? Thank you

Doctor Answers 4

Tight upper lip early after rhinoplasty is usually a temporary problem due to swelling.

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Hello Elizabethian,
Thanks for your question.
Open rhinoplasty changes how swelling at the base of the nose recedes.  You are probably stiff and more swollen than you are used to being.  This is normal and temporary.  Swelling in the tip and base will stay typically for up to one year after your surgery.  The nose has a terminal blood supply and very small lymphatics that will take a long time to rebuild after surgical disruption.  Just be patient.
Good luck,
Dr. Shah

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Upper lip problem

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This is likely due to the swelling as my colleagues pointed out. I would also massage the upper lip so the swelling goes away a little faster. Just remember that it usually takes somewhere between 6 to 12 months to have the rhinoplasty results settle. Hope this helps. Please make sure you discuss this with your surgeon.

Vartan Mardirossian, MD
Jupiter Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Short/tight upper lip after open rhino. Will this change with time?

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Swelling after rhinoplasty, especially open rhinoplasty, is normal and to be expected.  Swelling does change the 'feel' of the area.  Your lip may feel tight, but I assume, it will all revert to normal in the next several month.  The nose is a very small area, and a small bit of swelling is noticeable.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Rhinoplasty Recovery

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Increasing nasal tip projection with cartilage grafts or swelling due to the surgery itself may pull on the upper lip.  Likewise, the columellar incision used during an open rhinoplasty may undergo contraction as part of normal healing.  This can also lead to shortening of the upper lip.
The majority of swelling from a rhinoplasty will go down within the first few months.  However, improvement in the columellar scar and resolution of the swelling (to whatever their final extent may be) can take up to a year.  Patience and follow-up with one's surgeon are important parts of the recovery.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.