Surgical creation of a Cupid's bow using W-plasty in patients after cleft lip surgery

Ayako Takeshita, Tatsuo Nakajima, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, Masaki Yazawa, Ikkei Tamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The three-dimensional contour of the Cupid's bow is extremely important from a cosmetic standpoint, and many patients with bilateral or unilateral cleft lip require revision or reconstruction of the Cupid's bow. A number of surgical techniques have been reported for creating the Cupid's bow, among which the methods of Gillies and Onizuka are the most widely known. In the methods of Gillies and Onizuka, the dog-ear can result in excessive volume in the vermilion notch, raising the trough in the Cupid's bow and leading to regression during the post-surgical period. We have improved upon these techniques using the W-plasty and have obtained satisfactory results that preserve the white skin roll. In our method, the left and right prominence of the Cupid's bow is created through an incision of the white lip, while the central trough is created through a curvilinear incision of the vermilion mucosa. At the two sites of the white lip tissue and the curvilinear incision of the central vermilion tissue, the white skin roll is preserved as much as possible. In patients where the Gillies method had been used, the Cupid's bow tended to be flattened gradually after surgery. We report on the details of our method and the case reports using the technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-379
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Cleft lip
  • Cupid's bow
  • Vermilion
  • W-plasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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