Lip-Shortening Surgery

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2023 Oct 1;152(4):765-772. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000010361. Epub 2023 Mar 7.


Background: Many changes are associated with the aging face. Upper lip lengthening with atrophy, lip thinning, and diminution of the lip margin are commonly seen.

Methods: Lip-shortening surgery over a 32-year period by a single surgeon is reviewed. A direct surgical excision of the upper lip skin at the base of the nose with an irregular or curvilinear incision was used.

Results: Facial aesthetics were improved with this direct surgical approach. A more youthful vermilion border and an increased lip projection were achieved. Lip asymmetry and an improvement in lip dynamics were also observed. A high rate of revision surgery (approximately 25%) was found in this series. The highly visible, delicate, central facial landmarks involved in lip shortening magnify small scar irregularities, and revision, although relatively minor, is often necessary. Patient satisfaction is high, as a subjective improvement in lip aesthetics is readily appreciated. Patients frequently request further shortening.

Conclusions: Surgeons need to review the exigent nature of this surgery with their patients and be willing to perform the associated revisions inherent in the procedure. Lip-shortening surgery reliably improves facial aesthetics and should be used by plastic surgeons when treating the aging face.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Lip* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lip / surgery
  • Nose / surgery
  • Rhinoplasty* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome