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Background: Unlike the lower lip, the upper lip has a prominent shape feature known as the Cupid’s bow. This is a very recognizable lip feature which has a double curve in its central portion that derives its name because it resembles the bow of Cupid the Roman god of love. The height of the double curve aligns with the bottom end of the bilateral raised philtral columns which gives the lip ma bow appearance.

The degree of definition or prominence of the Cupid’s bow varies widely amongst individuals. To some degree the visibility of the Cupid’s bow is correlated to the natural size of the lip. (amount of vermilion fullness) The thinner the upper lip the flatter are the peaks of the bow and vice versa. Most  Cupid;’s bows have a rounded upper shape although some people have a sharper or more triangular bow form.

In the vast majority of women that seek upper lip augmentation, enhancement of the Cupid’s bow is desired. Having a fuller upper lip bow appearance is felt to be more attractive and sensual. Rarely is a request to have a flatter bow shape where the upper lip has a more homogenous shape like the lower lip.

Case Study: This 42 year-old female wanted to get rid of her upper lip Cupid’s bow. She wanted a smooth vermilion-cutaneous border from one mouth corner to the other.

Under local anesthesia the height of the Cupid’s bow was marked as two small wide-based triangles. The vermilion triangles were excised and the skin edges were advanced downward, making for a smooth vermilion-skin border.

Reduction of the Cupid’s bow is an uncommon upper lip reshaping request. But it can be done effectively through triangular vermilion excisions under local anesthesia.


  1. The shape of the cupid’s bow is the most noticeable and attractive feature of the upper lip.
  2. Reduction of the shape of the cupid’s bow is an uncommon upper lip reshaping request but can be done.
  3. Flattening of the prominence of the cupid’s bow can be done by vermilion peak excision.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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