DAO release – Lifting the corner of the mouth

A collage of photos of a patient before and after lifting the corner of the mouth.
DAO release: Before and After (courtesy Dr. Le Louarn, Aesthetic Surgery Journal Vol 26, No 5)

“DAO” (Depressor anguli oris) release to lift the corner of the mouth.

I have always been a fan of the Lip lift procedure. There are many reasons why it’s preferable to fillers, but the most important one is that it looks so good and natural. The effect is best in the central part of the lip. The Lip lift raises the upper lift so that your teeth are slightly exposed, creating a youthful and fresh appearance.

So what about the corner of the mouth? As you age the corner of your mouth can turn down. In the corner of the mouth, the only surgical option until recently was an incision on the lip margin. I never liked this option. For one, unlike the Lip lift procedure, where the scar is hidden under the nose, the scar is right on the lip margin. This never looks natural because the border between the red part of the lip and the skin is impossible to duplicate.

Several years ago, some physicians started injecting Botox into the muscle that turns down the corner of the mouth. The effect is striking. The corner of the mouth comes up to a normal level, and loses that scowling downward turn of the mouth. The patient looks happier. Since it’s Botox, it has to be repeated every few months.

A couple of weeks ago, a patient asked if I did the “DAO” release. Frankly, I didn’t know much about it. Luckily, the plastic surgery National meeting (ASPS) was coming up and I went on a mission to find out more about it. When I attended the ASPS meeting earlier this week I spoke to many doctors, saw presentations by surgeons who did the procedure, and read up a lot on the anatomy and physiology.

The verdict? The DAO release procedure is a winner. The reasons are as follows:

The results look great, and not just pictures, but videos showing the lips in motion. Technically, it is within the scope of any competent board certified plastic surgeon with proper knowledge of the facial anatomy. Finally, it is not a time consuming or technically complicated procedure.

I can’t wait to start offering this procedure to my patients. The procedure is as effective in men as it is in women. It is a perfect compliment to the Lip lift. To make a lip look truly younger and attractive, there is nothing like a Lip lift combined with a DAO release.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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