As we age the distance from the bottom of the nose to the top of the upper lip gets longer, and the upper rolls under and looks smaller. When we are young, several of our top teeth are visible with the lip in its resting position. As the lip drops through the years it will eventually cover all of the upper teeth at rest. Dermal fillers can restore some of that volume, but they can’t shorten the distance from the lip to the nose. A lip lift procedure involves a small incision under the nose, removal of excess tissue, and closure of the incision to lift the lip into a more feminine and youthful position. We can also restore some of the upper lip shape and add volume to the upper lip by recycling some of the tissue that was removed into a plumping graft and placing that back into the lip.
Lip Lift Consultation
At your consultation your surgeon will ask you to discuss your goals and point out the features of your lip that you would like to improve. They will determine how much tissue will have to be removed to create a more desirable lip position, and give you an idea of what that change will look like. We most often use a sub-nasal or “bullhorn” lip lift technique to lift your entire lip and hide any scarring. Your surgeon will discuss the location of the incision, review the steps involved in the procedure, and explain the typical recovery. Any possible complications will be explained.
How is a lip lift performed?
Your surgeon will review the plan with you again on the day of surgery. The tissue removal is carefully measured and marked. Skin and the underlying soft tissue is removed and the lip is lifted, rolled out, and shaped to make the lip shorter, more full and to improve the definition of the cupid’s bow shape. There are several layers of stitches used to close the incision, and there is a visible layer of dissolving sutures on the outside of the skin. If additional lip volume is desired it is added after the lip has been lifted. This can be done with fat grafting, but often the tissue that was removed can be processed and reused a plumping graft. The graft is then placed in the body of the lip.
How long does it take to recover from a lip lift?
An upper lip lift is performed as an outpatient procedure, and after they have recovered patients go home the same day of surgery. The upper lip lift can even be performed under local anesthesia using injections of a numbing medication. Discomfort after surgery varies widely, but most patients report soreness for 2-3 days that is well controlled with medication. There will be some lip swelling, and some patients have more than others. Bruising is rare, but if there is significant bruising it can last for a week or two. The stitches dissolve and when we see patients back at one week we start a scar prevention protocol. We send patients home with pain medicine, an anti inflammatory, a medication for nausea, and an antibiotic. We have them follow up at one week after surgery to have their nasal cast removed.