Previous studies on the effects of surgical and rapid palatal expansion have been largely based on general skeletal and dental findings ascertained from radiographs and casts. The aim of this study was to measure and compare the soft tissue changes of the face during the expansion process and to determine the stability of any changes 1 year later. The sample consisted of 44 patients with unilateral or bilateral posterior crossbites. Twenty-four of the patients required a surgically assisted expansion procedure, and a second group of 20 patients were treated with orthopedic expansion. Ten measurements were made from standardized frontal facial photographic slides at 5 intervals of treatment: initial, bond appliance, stop expansion, debond appliance, and 1 year retention. Differences over time between the surgical and nonsurgical groups were analyzed by a 2 way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and post hoc t tests. Differences between initial and 1 year retention were found in the nasal widths (P <.001) of both surgical and nonsurgical groups. Other significant changes and trends were discussed.