What is cheiloplasty?

Although the name may not be very common, cheiloplasty is a surgery of the lips that is done for the purpose of giving volume and shape to the lips. Keep reading and know how the procedure is.

Last update: 09 November, 2021

The word cheiloplasty derives from greek voices kheilos, which means ‘lips’, and plastos, which would be ‘molded’ or ‘patterned’. And that is precisely what it is. It is a cosmetic surgery to shape the outermost part of the mouth.

In this vein, cheiloplasty can be performed for various purposes: to increase or decrease the volume, to correct alterations and deformations, whether they are congenital or acquired.

And even though, when we hear the word surgery, Perhaps we think of a complicated surgical procedure, it does not apply in this case. Indeed, cheiloplasty is a simple procedure which takes less than an hour.

However, anesthesia must be administered and the corresponding safety protocols must be observed. It also requires a certain recovery time and some aftercare.

What is cheiloplasty and what is it done for?

Some people consider that they do not have the mouth that they would like, either due to congenital causes, trauma, as a result of cosmetic treatments of dubious quality, due to lack of teeth or age.

Aging affects the firmness of the skin and the tone of the muscles around the mouth. Also with age, small vertical wrinkles appear on the lips, difficult to hide.

Hence, sometimes we experience the need to undergo cosmetic treatments. Such procedures range from micropigmentation or lip tattoos to surgeries and fillers.

In a particular way, cheiloplasty is a surgical alternative which is used to correct small imperfections and achieve the goal of having voluminous lips. The purposes are to highlight the labial ridge, increase the width of the exposed skin, give volume or decrease it, modify the shape or confer structure.

In this sense, chyloplasty is recommended for the following cases:

  • Those who have very thin, sunken or small lips.
  • Those who have lost volume due to age.
  • People who have asymmetry or deformity due to an accident or a congenital defect.
  • Those who have had a previous aesthetic treatment and it was unsuccessful.

Different types of cheiloplasty

According to the aim pursued, the procedure or techniques used, as well as the materials used, there are several types of cheiloplasty. Let’s see.

The lips are very important in the aesthetics of the face. Hence, some people want to enhance them with surgery.


This modality is applied in people with thin lips or for those who have lost volume due to age. For lip augmentation, two types of fillers are applied: fat from the Bichat balls (accumulations in the patient’s own cheek area) or hyaluronic acid.


It is less frequentas most people want to show off full lips. However, when they are excessively developed and harmonize little with the face, reduction is made.


In people who have suffered trauma, burns, injuries or have congenital disorders such as cleft lip, rebuilding work is a bit more complex. This does not exclude the possibility of using filler.

Primary or secondary

It not only refers to the fact that it is the first time that the person undergoes the intervention, but also that in some cases the cheiloplasty It is done to correct any other treatment previously carried out. For example, due to complications from silicone infiltrations.

How is the procedure performed?

The first step is the interview with the medical team. In this phase, everything concerning the operation and subsequent care is explained to the patient, including possible risks. The consent and the required documentation will be signed.

Once the administrative aspect is completed, a general diagnosis of the patient’s health is made and their needs, wishes and concerns are listened to. Likewise, photographs of the area to be intervened are taken and analyzed.

The actions to be followed in the treatment phase itself will depend on the evaluation of the medical team. Then the date on which the patient will go to the operating room is scheduled.

Once there, anesthesia is applied, which is usually local. Although this also depends on the determinations made by the medical team, the preferences of the patient and their state of health.

It should be noted that cheiloplasty can be done on the upper lip, the lower lip, or both. Also, collagen or other fillers are used, such as hyaluronic acid. Grafts of the patient’s own tissue or fat are also used.

Depending on the type of surgery, incisions will be made on the front or inside of the lip. The intervention lasts no more than an hour in total. The removal of the stitches occurs one week after the intervention.

Advantages and benefits

Compared to other procedures, it is ensured that the cheiloplasty is a simple but precise operation. Among its benefits are the following:

  • The results are immediate, although they are better appreciated after a few weeks.
  • The lips are not deformed, as with other procedures.
  • The sutures are hidden and the scars are imperceptible.
  • The surgery is outpatient and does not require hospitalization.
  • The procedure is minimally invasive and the risks are low.
The procedure is one of the safest of cosmetic surgery. It lasts less than an hour and is ambulatory.

Before and after care

Despite the simplicity of the procedure, precautions should be taken before and after. For example, it must be ensured that the person does not have an allergy to local anesthetics or substances to be used as fillers. On the other hand, it is possible that if the person is consuming any drug, they must suspend its use for a time before the operation.

With regard to post-cheiloplasty care, the following recommendations should be taken into account:

  • Keep rest for the first 24 hours.
  • Smoking is not recommended.
  • Maintain a soft diet for 1 week.
  • Do not open your mouth wide or make sudden movements.
  • Avoid sun exposure.
  • Do not apply makeup to the mouth for at least 1 month.
  • Do not do sports or exercise in a period of 72 hours.

Side effects and contraindications of cheiloplasty

In the first days after the operation there will be swelling, mobility difficulties, bruising, pain and possibly light bleeding. But these symptoms should disappear after the first week.

On the other hand, cheiloplasty is contraindicated in cases such as the following:

  • People with autoimmune diseases.
  • Coagulation disorders.
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Herpes labialis.
  • pregnant or nursing women.

Sensual but safe lips

Although cheiloplasty is presented as a fairly simple surgical procedure, no surgery is totally risk-free. In this and in all cases there are always latent possibilities of complications.

However, these risks can be minimized by controlling the various factors. For example, a qualified and certified professional should be contacted. Then you have to make sure that the procedure is going to be performed in a controlled environment and following the protocols.

On the other hand, the definitive results of cheiloplasty are appreciated after 1 month has elapsed. Nevertheless, effects may diminish over time.

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