Turn That Frown Into a Smile With a Little Plastic Surgery

By: Dr Barry Eppley

Many female patients today seek rejuvenation procedures which involve making the mouth area look better or less aged. As women age, some will lose lip volume, develope upper and lower lip wrinkles, and have the corners of the mouth draw down. This often creates a sad, mad, or unhappy appearance to the lip area.

Most commonly, lip injections with hyaluronic fillers such as Juvaderm, Restylane, or Perlane are done to enhance the size of the lips, help fill out some of the fine wrinkles which are around the pink part of the lips, and raise up the mouth corners to some degree. While injectable filler treatments are not permanent, they are quick and easy to do.

The corner of the mouth lift is a surgical option that has lasting effects. It is an old procedure that has been around for many decades. The corner of the mouth lift can be performed in the office under local anesthesia as a stand alone procedure or as part of any number of other facial rejuvenation procedures such as lip injections, lip wrinkle reduction by laser resurfacing or as part of a larger facelift operation. By taking a small triangle of skin from just above the drooping mouth corner, the downhanging mouth corner can be turned up quickly and easily. It is a very powerful procedure for such a small removal of skin and one must be careful not to overdo it by raising the corner of the mouth too far up and having too long of a scar. While all surgical procedure create scars, the corner of the mouth lift scar is very small and inconspicuously placed.

The delicate corner of the mouth lift must be done so that the corners are raised to a near level position and the resultant scar to do so is kept very small and well placed. Many facelift patients mistakenly think that the facelift will pull up the corner which is a misunderstanding. That is why some facelift patients with 'frowns' needs a concurrent corner of the mouth lift procedure.

I have found this procedure to be well accepted and most patients are surprised when I mention it as they have never heard of it. When done in the office under local anesthesia, other rejuvenating lip procedures can be done simultaneously. Grooves that extend from the downturned corners of the mouth, otherwise known as 'marionette lines', will also need treated by some of filling material whether it be fat, injectable fillers, or implants. For those patients with chronic irritation due to salivary overflow (a condition known as angular cheilitis), a corner of the mouth may even be curative as it rearranges the angulation of the 'spout' and creating a more competent lip dam effect.

Plastic Surgery
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