In the evolution of cleft lip repair there has been continuous attempt to minimize local trauma, improve lip and nasal appearance and, especially, prevent conspicuous scars. The surgical technique presented meets these criteria, resulting in an appropriate scar course in children with a specific philtral ridge shape. Postoperative digital anthropometry was performed in 18 patients who underwent unilateral cleft lip repair using the equal bows/straight line advancement technique and in matched healthy control individuals. Symmetry values were assessed for lip length, philtral ridge length, vermilion height, width of the alar base, nasocanthal length, circumference of the nostrils, nostril width and height in both cleft and control groups. Evaluation revealed no significant differences in the symmetry values between cleft patients and control group (lip length: p = 0.71, philtral ridge length: p = 0.52, vermilion height: p = 0.23, alar base width: p = 0.69, nasocanthal length: p = 0.25, nostril circumference: p = 0.17, nostril width: p = 0.34, nostril height: p = 0.33). Principles of cleft lip repair can be achieved using the described technique which provides adequate lip length and natural nasal appearance in patients with a parallel-shaped philtral ridge. © 2013 European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.