Can Cutting the Depressor Septi Muscle Affect my Smile in the Long-term?

I will be going through rhinoplasty surgery soon where, amongst other things, my depressor septi muscle will be cut to prevent my nasal tip from drooping when I smile. While I understand that this procedure is not very difficult, I am worried that my smile or, more specifically, my upper lip movement will be negatively affected by the procedure. From your experience, is this something to be concerned about or does one always regain full upper-lip movement after a while? Thank you very much.

Doctor Answers 13

Depressor septi muscle

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I would not be concerned with any significant change to your smile. Cutting this muscle should be done right at the insertion to the feet of the tip cartilages and septum. The remainder of the muscle is left undisturbed and your mouth and upper lip will move normally afterwards.

Best of luck

Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Your Smile Will Be Fine

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Cutting the depressor septi muscle will in no way effect your smile in the long run. You will, however, notice that your smile is not normal during the initial healing phase, especially in the first few weeks. This has nothing to do with the depressor septi, but rather has to do with the rhinoplasy procedure in general. Overall, a rhinoplasty will not effect your smile in the long run.
Andrew C. Campbell, M.D.
Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Andrew Campbell, MD
Milwaukee Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Cutting the depressor septi muscle will cause swelling and loss of sensation

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If you cut the depressor septi muscle to prevent the nasal tip from drooping or moving when you smile, you will certainly have some swelling in this area and loss of sensation post-operatively. Because of the swelling in the area, this also will result in a loss of movement of the upper lip.

This will likely only be a relatively short-term side effect of this part of your nasal surgery, with expected return of function and sensation certainly by several months after the surgery is completed. The easiest way to determine if this is a good choice is to evaluate whether the benefit of stopping this outweighs the very long-term slight loss of movement and/or sensation in the upper lip, just below the nose.

Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Depressor Septi Muscle Release Will Not Affect One's Smile Once The Swelling Goes Away

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One treatment option for getting rid of the tip of the nose being pulled down when one smiles is to release the depressor septi muscle. This muscle is not one of the smile muscles and has no role to play in how one's mouth or lips moves. However, because the dissection to get to the muscle goes through a portion of the upper lip (either underneath the lip through the frenulum or from inside the nose), there will be some swelling of the lip for several weeks afterward. This swelling will temporarily affect the shape of the upper lip and may make the smile more 'stiff' until it goes away. But releasing this muscle will in no way affect how one smiles once it is healed.

Depresser Septi Muscle

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As multiple posts have confirmed, this is a very safe procedure without long-term effect on the upper lip.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

Cutting the Depressor Septi Muscle

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Cutting the depressor septi muscle at the base of yoiur nose will help prevent tip drooping with facial animation, ing ut will not change your smile. Immediately following surgery, your smile may be temporarily different due to lip  swelling after the rhinolasty whether or not the muscle is cut.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Depressor septi muscle

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Cutting the depressor septi muscle is sometimes done for patients with terribly plunging tips.  It should not impact you overall smile.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Your Smile and Rhinoplasty techniques

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Dear New York;

  • Treating this depressor muscle is just one method used to prevent downward pulling on your nose when you smile.
  • Remember your nose and upper lip are closely related, so changing one will affect the other (even slightly)
  • Your upper lip movement may be changed  during the healing period after rhinoplasty, but this is short-term resolves.

Best Wishes to you

Travis T. Tollefson, MD, MPH
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon

Can Cutting the Depressor Septi Muscle Affect my Smile in the Long-term

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This should not affect your smile in the long term as long as it is done properly.  If your surgeon recommends this to prevent your tip from drooping when you smile, you likely will get a good results. good luck!

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Depressor Septi Muscle

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Cutting the Depressor Septi usually does not affect the upper lip movement or smile. Any changes will usually resolve over a period of weeks. 

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

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.