When people are considering rhinoplasty, they often assume the nose will be the only facial feature affected long term. That's a fair assumption, given that it's the only area of the face a surgeon actually works on during the procedure. However, a new study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery shows that following surgery, the look of the upper lip can often change as well.
A common objective of most nose jobs is to increase tip projection (the distance of the tip of the nose from the plane of the face) of the nose, thus changing the angle between the tip of the nose and the upper lip and giving the nose a more upturned look. However, according to the JAMA study, increasing the tip projection of the nose often results in a marked increase of upper lip projection, as well. During the study, Chicago plastic surgeons Eric Cerrati and Steven Dayan examined before and after photos of 20 patients who underwent rhinoplasty, and out of those 20, 18 patients (or 90 percent) showed an increase in upper lip projection, specifically when the surgeon used the two most common rhinoplasty methods: columellar strut or the tongue-in-groove maneuver.
Jeffrey Epstein, a plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor, said that though upper lip projection after rhinoplasty can happen, it's not something he sees often. He told Allure how it happens, and said that it's usually an undesirable effect of the procedure. "It occurs with particular maneuvers that either increase or decrease tip projection, resulting in a shortening or a lengthening, respectively, of the upper lip. Essentially, when the tip [of the nose] gets set back (or deprojected), the lip drops a bit, as opposed to when the projection of the tip is increased, resulting in the lip being pulled up and forwards."
There is one situation, however, where he says the effect is actually desired by the patient. Sometimes a patient may want their upper lip to become more visible and may discuss this with their surgeon — in this case, the effect can be intentional and therefore favorable.
Though these findings shouldn't discourage you from exploring the possibility of rhinoplasty, they are something keep in mind, as more than just your nose may change if you undergo the procedure.