What is a lip lift?
Most lip enhancement involves making lips bigger, usually with fillers. For a significant number of patients, making the upper lip smaller via a lip lift is the more appropriate aesthetic procedure.
A lip lift is a simple, in-office surgical procedure to elevate the upper lip. It is done either to shorten the distance of an overly long upper lip, or to increase the amount of “red show” for a lip that is naturally very thin.
What are the benefits of a lip lift?
There are multiple benefits to a properly performed lip lift procedure. As we age the upper lip tends to stretch and lengthen with gravity, much like other parts of your face. This usually results in the red part of the lip “rolling” inward which gives the appearance of thinning. Additionally, the upper lip falls downward and covers the upper teeth which can make the mouth appear older. By shortening the upper lip these changes are reversed and the midface takes on a lifted and more rejuvenated appearance. The increased “red show” also provides the lip with a permanent look of greater fullness, which is often desirable in young patients as well.
What techniques are used for a lip lift?
There are several techniques that have been used over the years to perform a lip lift. Original descriptions involve removing skin just above the lip, where the pink portion meets your skin. This can be done across the central part of the lip (the “cupid’s bow”), or at the corners depending on which parts need to be lifted. More modern techniques place the incision just under your nose, allowing the resultant scar to be less visible. A small strip of skin is removed and the area is carefully closed with sutures. The “modified” upper lip lift is the most advanced technique to date and includes more release of the lip and more stable suspension to create a longer-lasting natural result.
Who is a good candidate for a lip lift?
You may be a good candidate for a lip lift if you feel the distance between your nose and lip is too long, or that the upper lip is relatively thin. Often, patients who are good candidates for a lip lift may have had a bad experience previously with lip fillers, which made the lips appear heavy and long instead of plump and balanced
What is the lip lift procedure like?
As mentioned above, the lip lift is a very simple and straightforward surgical procedure that can be done alone, or in combination with other facial procedures (rhinoplasty, facelift, etc). The procedure begins with skin markings on your upper lip based on the surgical plan you design with your surgeon. Next, numbing medicine is injected into the area similar to a dental procedure. Once ready, the necessary portion of skin just beneath the nose is gently removed and any light bleeding is controlled. The incision is then closed with many small sutures to create the most cosmetic result possible. Following the procedure, the area is kept covered with antibiotic ointment and sutures are removed starting several days later.
How long does a lip lift last?
The results of a surgical lip lift are permanent, however, your lips and overall face will continue to mature. Normal aging changes should be expected.
What is recovery like after lip lift?
Immediately following the procedure the upper lip will be sore and swollen to varying degrees. Swelling typically gets worse for the first several days and, in some cases, can be dramatic. This is a normal part of healing and not dangerous. The incision is kept clean and covered with antibacterial ointment for the first week or so. Activity is restricted for several days and slowly re-introduced. Exercise and exertion should be avoided for approximately two weeks. The initial healing period is generally 2-3 weeks, with more enjoyable results settling in around 2-3 months later. The scar heals over several months to a year or more, improving with time.