Nostril narrowing through Weir excisions does not have to look fake

Wier excisions are very powerful tools to augment a rhinoplasty. This is a procedure that I usually perform at the conclusion of a nose job in order to refine and narrow the nostrils while controlling the flare when smiling. Most people and surgeons alike equate this procedure to simply narrowing the “floor” of the nostril by cutting out some skin but it is actually more nuanced than that. The design of the excision can be customized by changing the angulation, the position and the width of the cuts which, in turn, can change not only the dimensions but also the curvature of the actual nostril itself. A deep permanent suture is often used as well to prevent re-widening of the nostrils and reduce tension across the scar. Reducing tension across the scar as well as accurate angulation is important to achieve a nearly invisible scar. So many times I have seen obvious notching that is visible from 5 feet away and is a definite giveaway of having had a rhinoplasty. Weir excisions can be also be performed in conjunction with an upper lip lift adding to the complexity of the procedure. As a rhinoplasty and lip lift expert, I have performed hundreds of these combination techniques with excellent results. All facial plastic surgery, whether it’s primary or revisional, is challenging but taking the time to address all the details and plan them accordingly can maximize the aesthetic outcome that is not only beautiful but natural as well. The devil is in the details so to speak.
Poor rhinoplasty result with crooked , distorted tip and obvious nostril scarring after a Weir excision
Poor rhinoplasty result with crooked , distorted tip and obvious nostril scarring after a Weir excision
Again, note obvious nostril scarring from Weirs and tell-tale signs of a past rhinoplasty
Again, note obvious nostril scarring from Weirs and tell-tale signs of a past rhinoplasty
Before and after revision rhinoplasty and Weir excision as performed by Dr. RANDAL HAWORTH
Before and after revision rhinoplasty and Weir excision as performed by Dr. RANDAL HAWORTH
Primary rhinoplasty and Weir excision to narrow the nostrils in Asian patient. Note added tip projection and lack of notching
Primary rhinoplasty and Weir excision to narrow the nostrils in Asian patient. Note added tip projection and lack of notching
Primary rhinoplasty, Weir excision and concomitant upper lip lift as performed by Dr. Haworth
Primary rhinoplasty, Weir excision and concomitant upper lip lift as performed by Dr. Haworth

Lip Lift status for 2014 and beyond

Lip lifts for 2014

Patients often asked me what are the differences between a skin-only lip lift and my muscle hemming technique. To put it simply, longevity, scarring and nasal distortion.

Skin Only Lip Lift

Until the late 90’s, the only lip lift I knew how to do was the skin only type. I would perform this by excising a certain amount of skin below the nasal base and sewing the lower edge of the excision to the upper edge which happens to be the skin of the nose.  The only thing now supporting this entire weight of the upper lip (which happens to move millions of times a day, eating, kissing, expressing and speaking) is the freshly closed incision at the skin level.  One can imagine that this provides little support for all the action occurring around the upper mouth area.  Consequently, the longevity of the lip lift itself is lessened, the nostrils are more likely to be pulled downwards while the resulting scar is more likely to stretch and thicken.

The results of a skin-only lip lift. Notice the widened scars, significant nostril distortion and recurrent long upper lip.
The results of a skin-only lip lift. Notice the widened scars, significant nostril distortion and recurrent long upper lip.

Muscle Hemming Lip Lift

After many years of observing the long-term results of skin-only lip lifts, I developed the muscle hemming technique.  By employing moderate principles of plastic surgery in which nip and tucks (such as a facelift) are improved by lifting and tightening the layers below the skin including muscle I have noted a significant benefit to my lip lifts in terms of scarring, longevity and less nasal distortion.  However, the recovery period was notably increased.  The muscle hemming technique involves placing slowly dissolvable sutures into the muscle layer below the skin and intern suturing that to the periosteum (lining) of the bone deep to the nose itself.  The lip lift is thus a solid one without relying on skin closure to achieve its  superior long-term results while lessening the chance of undesirable scarring and pulling around the nostrils.

Skin Flap Lip Lift

Which brings me to today.  For the last 3 years I have been employing a skin-flap technique which provides all the benefits of the muscle hemming technique but with half the recovery.  Suturing of the muscle is minimized in this technique but none of the longevity and superior scarring is sacrificed. The period of significant distortion and swelling has been halved from 2 weeks to less than 1.  Additionally, the results are “softer” in appearance with minimal to no distortion of the nostril area.

Patient with subliminal long upper lip with minimal upper toothshow
Patient with subliminal long upper lip with minimal upper tooth show
After skin -flap lip lift by Dr. Haworth of Beverly Hills. Notice significant improvement tooth show, natural shortening of the upper lip with minimal nasal distortion. Being a lip lift expert, he developed surgery during to further his evolutionary journey into perfecting the ideal upper lip lift. This new technique also produces softer results those from the skin-only at muscle-hemming  techniques.
After skin -flap lip lift by Dr. Haworth of Beverly Hills. Notice significant increase in tooth show and natural shortening of the upper lip with minimal nasal distortion. Being a lip lift expert, he developed this surgery to further his evolutionary journey into perfecting the ideal upper lip lift. This new technique also produces softer results those from the skin-only and muscle-hemming techniques.

Performing the modern lip lift with minimal-to-no-scarring and achieving a permanent beautiful result is challenging .  It requires attention to minute detail and appreciation of how the oral region plays a central role in facial harmony.  The vast majority of patients are thrilled with the subtle yet powerful results of this operation, but it has taken over 2 decades of  unwavering dedication and imagination to get this far.