Do you often feel that your face is a little too long? Or, at times, when you smile, and your teeth aren’t showing? Or, do you feel that your upper lip is drooping due to ageing? If your answer is “yes” to either of the questions above, there is a high chance that you may have a long philtrum.
What is philtrum?
In short, the philtrum is the region located between the nose and upper lips (starting from the bottom of the columella to the upper margin of the procheilon). The physiological function of the philtrum is the connection between the upper lips and the nose.
The word ‘philtrum’ is also often used to describe the middle depression on the upper lips, and its length plays a vital role in determining the overall shape of the upper lips.
Having an elongated or exceedingly long philtrum can make ones’ mid-face look longer and older. This further distorts the face’s proportion and balance. A long philtrum is also prone to expose the defects of the upper lip drooping, which tends to make one unable to expose their teeth when they smile.
What causes the philtrum to be elongated?
There are numerous causes for a long philtrum, such as heredity, congenital upper palate prominence (mouth protrusion), excess development of the midface skeleton and a retracted columella (the tissue that links the nasal tip to the nasal base).
Other than the above, an individual’s skin laxity declension due to skin ageing can also cause your lips to be thinner, further lose their perkiness and cause your philtrum to be longer as the skin droops.
But fortunately, a long philtrum can be corrected with a philtrum reduction surgery (also commonly known as upper lip lift and philtrum contouring).
About the procedure
The philtrum reduction surgery can help to reduce the distance between your nose and your upper lips. Henceforth, lifting the upper lips angle to sculpt a youthful appearance, as well as fuller and perkier lips.
Who is Eligible?
People who can undergo a philtrum reduction includes
Individuals with unusually long philtrum since birth (longer than 2cm).
Individuals who have a droopy upper lip due to ageing.
Individuals with an elongated philtrum after wearing braces for a long time.
Individuals who have a prominent mouth protrusion.
How is the surgical procedure done?
At Shens Clinic, the primary method for philtrum reduction surgery is the Medial Philtrum Reduction. This method (also known as the bullhorn upper lip lift) lifts the midline groove under the nasal base.
The incision is made under the nostril, along the folds under the nasal base, and further extends it to the nasal base’s corners. Thus, the excess skin would be removed and, as a result, a shorter philtrum.
This method is suitable for individuals who do not have an exceedingly long philtrum and wish to keep the original lip shape.
How long does the surgery take?
At Shens Clinic, the philtrum reduction surgery usually lasts about an hour.
Will there be any pain involved?
The philtrum reduction surgery will be performed under sedation. Therefore, you will be asleep, and you will not feel any pain during the surgery.
What is the downtime for this procedure?
The treated area may be in pink initially. However, the swelling will subside relatively fast. In one week, the patient can return to the clinic to get the stitches removed.
You may experience swellings and redness in the area. However, compared to other cosmetic surgeries, this procedure has one of the shortest recovery times.
For patients who have undergone this procedure, it might be tough for you to eat in the first two days as there may be some form of discomfort as the local anaesthesia wears off. However, you will be fine after that.
We would advise individuals to go on a liquid diet for the first two days. Furthermore, patients need to avoid opening their mouth too wide and pursuing their lips until it fully heals.
The actual recovery time varies among individuals, and it is subjected to one’s health condition & healing responses.
Will there be any scars?
There will be minimal scarring. As the incision is made directly under the nose, the position helps to conceal the scars maximally.
Subsequently, patients can also opt-in for laser treatment to lighten and remove the scarring permanently.
What to expect from the cosmetic procedure?
Patients who smoke are most likely advised to refrain from smoking at least six weeks into the procedure. We will also advise patients to refrain from taking any blood-thinning medication, multi-vitamins and supplements at least two weeks prior to the surgery to minimize the risk of bleeding profusely.
Once the cosmetic surgery is done, the patient will need to rest for the required time at the clinic. A board-certified plastic surgeon or the other medical staff will provide specific instruction and guidelines. It is important to abide by all of the instructions and guidelines to prevent medical complications and to ensure a smooth recovery.