From teens to middle-aged women, it seems all ages are seeking an upper lip lift to provide plumper, poutier and more youthful-looking lips. 

This cosmetic enhancement can turn back the clock and reduce the signs of aging around lips, as well as improve the aesthetics of a person’s smile while enhancing symmetry and proportions of the face.

What is an Upper Lip Lift?

During lip lift surgery, the surgeon will remove a bullhorn-shaped strip of skin between the nostrils and lip area, also known as the philtrum. This will help shorten the length in this area, improve your lips border, and greatly enhance the look of your lips. 

 

A lip lift is designed to help those who have an elongated upper lip. This can cause a break in the flow of facial features. Sagging in this area can also cause teeth to be hidden when you smile. Overall, a lip lift is the perfect solution for those seeking a cosmetic change in their top lip. This lift surgery will define your lip by raising a portion of it, which will result in a fuller appearing upper lip. The result is a youthful, harmonious appearance to the face overall.

What Should I Expect When Having Lip Lift Surgery?

Before you have your procedure, you and your surgeon should talk about expected results. You will be able to visualize how you will look after your procedure. You should have more youthful lips that are plump and pouty. 

The physician starts the process by using a surgical marker to draw a wavy ellipsis shape, which is referred to as bullhorns, right under your nostrils. This is an outline where your doctor will be cutting and removing the skin. 

This same-day procedure is performed under local anesthetic. You will be awake during the surgery, but completely numb. When numbing medication is administered you will feel a stinging sensation, like a mosquito bite. On average, lip surgery should take about 40 minutes. 

The surgeon will cut along the outline and remove the strip of bullhorn skin. They will then anchor the remaining skin to the base of your nose, allowing sutures to fall neatly into the crease of your nose. This means that the lip lift scarring should be minimum and virtually invisible to the naked eye. 

The distance between your nose and mouth will be shorter, allowing for a more appealing smile. Since no muscles or nerves are involved during this procedure, you will not experience a loss of sensation in the lip or nose area.

Lip Lift Benefits and Results

Aging occurs in all parts of the body, including the lips. Full lips are a sign of youth and beauty. This is the reason so many middle-aged women seek lip lift surgery. Most times those who are inquiring about lift surgery for the lips have already tried non-surgical methods. 

This may include lip injections and fillers. The problem with these types of cosmetic enhancements is that they only provide temporary results and at times, result in duck-lips if a lip lift is actually the right procedure for you. If you are looking for a more permanent solution, then lip lift surgery is the answer. Results for lip surgery are natural-looking and subtle. However, the benefits and results can oftentimes be substantial. 

Benefits and Results

  • Fuller and poutier lips
  • Improves shape and length of lips
  • More prominent lip line
  • Improves smile and tooth show
  • Reduces fine lines on the upper lip
  • Subtle improvement of the corners of the mouth
  • Makes the lips and lower face appear younger overall
  • Decreases the need for fillers
  • Permanent enhancement
  • Improves self-esteem and confidence

Recovering From a Lip Lift Surgery

Lip lift recovery is relatively straightforward. There will be some stitches placed at the base of your nose, and they will be taken out 5 to 7 days post-op. You can expect to have some tightness and discomfort, so make sure you take your pain medications as prescribed. 

Pain and tightness may last up to 3 to 4 weeks. You can expect to experience swelling in the nose and mouth area for the first 7 to 14 days. Even with the discomfort, you should be able to return to your normal routine within 10 days. 

upper lip lift - post op

Here are some care tips to help with your lip lift recovery.

  • Ensure you get plenty of rest and take your medication as your doctor has prescribed. 
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities for the first 7 days, this includes bending and lifting heavy objects.
  • Avoid eating salty foods or foods that require a lot of chewing. It will be best to stay away from hot drinks for the first 48 hours. Try to stick with soft foods for the first few days after your surgery. 
  • Do not sleep on your face. You will need to sleep on your back with your head elevated. 
  • Refrain from opening your mouth too wide, as it could affect your sutures. 
  • Be gentle when brushing your teeth. 
  • Make sure to keep your incision clean and apply antibiotic ointment twice a day. 
  • You will want to properly moisturize your lips with Vaseline, Carmex or a similar lip balm for the first 3 weeks. 

The Best Candidates for a Lip Lift

The best candidates for lip lift surgery would be those who lack tooth visibility when smiling, struggle with elongated upper lip distance, and generally, lack fullness in their upper lip. 

More than 27,000 lip lift procedures take place each year in the U.S.A, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Everyone is out to get the perfect pout. This rise in lip lift procedures has gone up by 43% in women since 2000. 

In the past, this surgery was traditionally sought after by women who were 55 years old or older. However, this is no longer the case. Advancements in both technology and techniques allow patients of all ages to undergo a lip lift. 

ideal candidate for upper lip lift

Ideal Candidates Include:

  • Those who are wanting a permanent result, rather than continuing to receive injectable fillers. These treatments typically only address volume. 
  • Individuals who have lips that have become thin, inverted, shapeless or are sagging from age. 
  • Someone who has had other cosmetic facial surgeries and wish to make their lips match the rest of their facial features. 
  • Have undergone rhinoplasty and were left feeling like their upper lip was too long
  • Lips are naturally unbalanced

Who Is Not an Ideal Candidate for Lip Lift Surgery?

Some candidates would not benefit from having this surgery because it is not able to provide the results they are seeking. Most commonly would be a person who has a large portion of teeth that show when they smile. Lifting the lip would only show more teeth and would not provide desired results. In this case, referral for cosmetic dentistry would be more suitable, as they will be able to shorten the number of teeth that are being exposed. 

What Should the Lip Ratio for a Person’s Face Be?

Some say the ideal lip ratio is 1-1.6, but there are several factors that influence the perfect lip ratio. The reality is there is no perfect lip ratio – it varies from person to person. 

It is best to consider the relationship between the white lip and the rest of your face. All factors need to be considered, such as bone definition, the shape of your face, and the length of your teeth. The white lip can fall anywhere between 9mm to 27mm in length. The ideal lip length for most people typically falls between 9mm to 18mm. However, this will be dependent on your overall facial features. 

When Should I Expect to See Results from My Surgery?

It will take about 3 weeks to begin seeing results. This is mainly because of the swelling that will be caused in the area. You should see optimal results after three to four months. It may take up to a year to see the full extent of lip ratio and definition. 

upper lip lift - shortening the upper lip

How Much Skin Will Be Removed During a Lip Lift?

The amount of skin removed depends on your desired results. It ranges between 5mm to 7mm of skin, with it usually falling at the higher end of this range. Your surgeon will keep within a safe range according to your individual needs. Removing more skin than is needed will only prolong healing time. 

What Risks Are Involved with a Lip Lift?

Everyone heals differently, so results and side effects will vary from patient to patient. A lip lift is a simple procedure that does not involve cutting nerves or muscles, so the risk is minimum. 

Here are some risks you should be aware of before having a lip lift. 

  • Numbness
  • Stiffness
  • Paresthesia
  • Lip distortion
  • Lip lengthening
  • Smile deformation
  • Speech impediment
  • Visible scarring
  • Infection
  • Fluid buildup in the lips

What Are Some Alternatives to Lip Surgery?

If you are looking for some alternatives to try out before deciding on a lip lift procedure, here are some you can consider. 

  • Lip Fillers – This is where the lips are injected with hyaluronic acid fillers, which will instantly make your lips look fuller and redefine their shape. However, the results are temporary and may last anywhere between 4 to 12 months. It will highly depend on the type of filler being used and your metabolism.
  • Fat Transfer – During this procedure, fat from another part of your body would be removed and used to enhance the volume of your lips. The fat is extracted through liposuction and is typically taken from the hips or stomach. Once the fat is extracted, it is injected into your lips. It can also be injected in other parts of the face or body, such as the breasts or cheeks. It is a natural way to get fuller lips and results can last for years. However, it is a costly procedure, so many people choose lip lifts or fillers over this option. 
  • Lip Implants – This is probably the most dramatic type of lip enhancement option available. A tiny incision will be made at each corner of the mouth, and implants made of pliable silicone will be inserted. It is a permanent fix for creating fuller lips. 

How Much Does a Lip Lift Procedure Cost?

The cost of a lip lift is between $3,300 and $13,000. It varies based on the quality of the facility, the experience of the surgeon, and the patient’s desired results. The average cost includes post-op care and the surgeon’s fee.

At Nazarian Plastic Surgery we offer financing options to break the cost down into manageable payments.

Differences Between a Lip Lift and a Lip Augmentation?

With a lift, a portion of skin between the nose and upper lip is removed, allowing for the lip to be lifted higher. It requires local anesthetic and sutures. There is little to no scarring, as the stitches are placed in the crease of the nose. This procedure can be done to help decrease aging, improve your smile, and shorten the distance between the nose and mouth.

Lip augmentation is done to help make lips fuller. This can be done with hyaluronic acid filler. Advancements have significantly improved this procedure while allowing for longer-lasting results. This is a great option for those who want to see what their lips would look like with more volume, but are not ready to commit to surgery.

Are You Interested in a Lip Lift?

Dr. Sheila Nazarian, MD, MMM, is a board-certified Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon. Nazarian Plastic Surgery offers a number of plastic surgery procedures and non-surgical treatments. Check out some of her upper lip lift before and after pictures

If you are not sure if this procedure is right for you, then schedule a consultation and allow Dr. Nazarian to make suggestions on treatment options. Nazarian Plastic Surgery is fully dedicated to providing natural-looking results combined with outstanding patient care. 

Tell Us What You Think!

We would love to know what you think. Comment below and tell us about your thoughts on a lip lift, or if you have gone through this procedure – share your story with us!