Lip Reduction

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Lip reduction surgery is also known as cheiloplasty. This procedure reduces the size of the lips permanently. An asymmetrically shaped lip will have the top lip slightly protruding while the bottom lip sits behind it. Some patients' lower lips protrude further than their top lip, giving a disproportionate look. Besides cosmetic reasons, a lip reduction can also be performed in patients with a history of cleft lip and palate, but this is subjective to the patient. Candidates with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases or those who develop oral sores often may not be suitable for lip reduction surgery.
During the procedure, surgeons remove tissue from the lips and reshape them to even out the bottom lip. The process requires either a local or general anesthetic. The surgeon will first create an incision across the inside of the lower lip. This will help to hide the scar. Once they extract the required volume of tissue, they close the site with sutures. The stitches used will usually come off on their own a few days after the procedure.

Alternatives to this surgery include the "Brazilian" reduction, which only removes tissue from one lip. Common side effects after the surgery are bruising, swelling and pain, which can be alleviated with ice packs. Lip reduction is not likely to cause infection or scarring, but a potential risk is asymmetrical lips. It may take a few days for patients to have full mobility of their mouth. The area should be fully healed within two weeks.

While procedures like injectable lip fillers and implants can be reversed, a lip reduction surgery is permanent.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1-2 weeks

Lip Reduction- Bikini Technique

Dr. David Cangello, a plastic surgeon based in New York City, talks about his lip reduction technique and, in particular, something he calls the "Bikini Lip Reduction". He uses pictures of a patient that came to him needing a lip reduction on both her lips. He explains the procedure step by step and illustrates the changes using pictures.

Dallas Lip Reduction Consultation by Dr. Lam

This video shows a virtual consultation for lip reduction. Dr. Sam Lam, a plastic surgeon based in Dallas, gives an overview of the principles of this type of surgery. He talks about its use in the correction of unnatural or over-augmented lips and about how it is used to improve natural lips that people are not happy with. He covers the pros, cons and limitations of the procedure.