Lip Reduction

Although many people seek lip augmentation, lip reduction is also a surgical option. This procedure is performed under local or IV anesthesia and takes about 30 minutes per lip. The  recovery is approximately one week, depending on the degree of swelling.

Who is a candidate for lip reduction?

lip reduction is performed for several reasons.  Most commonly, patients have lips that are too big and want them smaller.  In addition, some patients have situations, especially in the upper lip that causes hanging excess skin which is bothersome.  Other reasons for lip reduction include post trauma cases with scarring or asymmetry and congenital defects.

Most patients with large lips do not show an excessive amount of tooth structure, but patients with a “buck” tooth appearance or those patients that show excessive tooth structure at rest or when smiling may not be reduction candidates.  The reason for this is that when reducing the lips in this type of patient, more tooth structure may be visible and have a negative aesthetic outcome.

Can the chin affect the size of the lips?

In many cases (especially in African American patients) a recessive chin profile exists.  Without the normal chin support, the lower lip can look even bigger that it is and can droop.  By performing simultaneous lip reduction with chin implant placement, two small procedures add up to a remarkable post operative result.  The picture below shows a before and after image of a patient that underwent both lip reduction and chin implant placement.

This patient underwent minor lip reduction with simultaneous chin implant surgery

How is lip reduction performed?

Lip reduction is generally performed with IV sedation and takes 20-40 minutes per lip depending on the complexity of the procedure.  Dr. Niamtu evaluates the patient when they are at rest, smiling and speaking and then determines the amount of tissue to be reduced.

The above image shows the excess skin being marked before the reduction surgery.  In this case, the outlined crescents of tissue will be removed to decrease the size of the lip.

What is the recovery?

The average recovery is about 7-10 days. For patients that do not swell excessively this is accurate, however, occasionally, patients can swell excessively and will require a longer recovery.  The suture line may look irregular at first but the result settles in and continues to improve over 6-12 weeks.  In rare cases, a touch may be necessary.

The following picture shows a healing lower lip 9 days after reduction.

What does the scar look like?

The surgery is performed to make the scar on the inside of the mouth.  The scar may feel thick for several weeks, but generally heals to a point that it is almost invisible.  The patient below shows a lip reduction scar on his lower lip 6 weeks after surgery.

Case presentations

The case to the right shows lower lip reduction only, the patient chose not to do the upper lip.  This is a great example of how a small operation can make a big difference.  The first picture show the patient before surgery, the outline of the reduction, the patient 9 days after surgery and the patient several months after surgery.


The above patient was treated with lower lip reduction


The above patient was treated with upper and lower lip reduction

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The above patient was treated with upper and lower lip reduction.

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The following case is lower lip reduction only

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Upper lip Only

 Lip Reduction, Before and After Photos, Richmond VA
 Lip Reduction, Before and After Pictures, Richmond VA

The patient above was treated for unsightly excess upper lip tissue.

The patient shown above was treated with upper lip reduction.  The excess was due to her biting her lip as a habit.

The above patient was treated with upper lip reduction ONLY to decrease the size of the upper lip.

Lip Reduction, Before and After Photos, Richmond VA
 Lip Reduction, Before and After Pictures, Richmond VA
Lip Reduction, Before and After Photos, Richmond VA
 Lip Reduction, Before and After Pictures, Richmond VA

 Upper and Lower Lip Reduction

The patient below is a pro bono case that Dr. Niamtu performed while in Argentina.  This young girl was badly burned in infantcy and  Dr. Niamtu reduced her lower lip as part of an ongoing reconstruction.

The patient below was involved in a motor vehicle accident and had fat injection to build up her lip.  Unfortunately, too much fat was placed in the lip and the patient required lip feduction to remove the excess fat and lip tissue.

In addition to cosmetic lip reduction, some patients require lip reduction from trauma. It is not uncommon for an injured lip to heal with lumps or bumps that can look unattractive and impair function. Dr. Niamtu can reduce these traumatic scars (hyperplasia) to form a more normal lip.

The above patient sustained a laceration to his right lip which healed with a large lumpy scar. Dr. Niamtu removed the scar to normalize the appearance of the lip.

Hemangiona Treatment


The above 7 year old patient was treated by Dr. Niamtu for hemangioma removal of the upper lip.

The above patient had a hemangioma of her upper lip which was treated with laser and surgical removal

This patient is shown before and after reduction of a hyperplastic scar from an accident

Lip Reduction for Lip Biting Patient

Some patients bite their lips as a nervous habit and can develop significant scar tissue that makes the lip larger and unsightly.  The case below shows one of Dr. Niamtu’s lip reduction patients. The picture shows the patient before, the area excised and the after image.

Letters from happy patients

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Cosmetic Lip Lift

Shortening the upper lip can ehnance lip and face aesthetics.  It allows long lips to be shortened, allows more exposure of the front teeth and produces an attractive pout and fullness.

 click here for more information about Dr. Niamtu’s lip lift procedure.