Longer Upper Lip After Rhinoplasty

After wondering for months what has happened to my face after Rhinplasty, I've come to realise that my smile isn't the same. When I smile, my upper lip doesn't come up over my teeth like it used to and looks slightly crooked and unnatural. The surgeon did a lot of work to the tip and the area between the nostrils. Will this get better in time or could it be damaged perminately? Is there anything I can do to fix it?

Doctor Answers 4

Work on the end of the septum can change the upper lip

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When any surgeon changes the length of the nose or trims the bottom of the septum (behind the columella, the skin between your nostrils), the upper lip can lengthen and /or fall back so it isn't straight but looks a little "sunken" where it meets your nose.  Many patients are unaware of this change and I have to point it out; you are very observant.

I try to avoid this problem by being very conservative and aware of what I do to the end of the septum.  Secondarily, lip position can be corrected with cartilage grafts or Gore-Tex rolls.  I have done this at least 400 times. The main risk is the low chance of infection, which fortunately has occurred only 5 times in my patients. Some were situations where I would not now use Gore-Tex but use cartilage instead.

There are also operations for shortening the lip, but I don't recommend them and don't do them because they leave visible scars which have to be perfect (and won't always be perfect).

Nashua Plastic Surgeon

Upper Lip after Rhinoplasty

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Rhinoplasty surgery will not permanently make your upper lip crooked and unnatural. You do not mention when you had your surgery. The change you notice is probably secondary to the normal temporary post-op swelling.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Smile Changed After Rhinoplasty

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Hi Tia,

Your question is best answered by your rhinoplasty surgeon, the only person who really knows what went on during your surgery (unless the anesthesiologist was really paying attention!).  Most of the changes to the upper lip after rhinoplasty are usually temporary, but if it has been "months" then it may be permanent in your case.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Upper lip and smile after rhinoplasty

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Certainly, after a rhinoplasty if it has only been a few months, may affect your smile. This can be due to swelling and if so should get better over time.

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.