Everything You Need to Know About Lip Lift Surgery

lip lift

Lip augmentation with hyaluronic acid filler such as Juvederm and Restylane is one of the most popular injectable procedures performed at a facial plastic surgeon’s office. Lip injections are popular because they can be done quickly and leaves lips plump and full. However, filler are not the only way to enhance the lips. There is a very appealing alternative called a lip lift. This procedure can also create the appearance of full lips, but without the need to come in for refills every few months. It’s also a great option for patients who would like more vertical show of the upper lip, but do not want the lips to project (stick out) further.

But, what exactly is a lip lift? What does it do for you?

Below Dr. Rodman will explain the procedure, and answer some of the most commonly answered questions.

 

What Is a Lip Lift? 

A lip lift is a permanent surgical procedure that increases the amount of visible pink tissue on the upper lip. This helps your lips look fuller and more youthful. It also increases the amount of dental show.

A lip lift reduces the length of the philtrum, which is the skin between the nose and the red upper lip.  As we age, the philtrum becomes longer and the upper lip becomes thinner. It’s estimated that the philtrum distance elongates by 1 to 3 millimeters every decade after your 20s.   This causes the pink portion of the upper lip to fold inward, and appear smaller.  The lips begin to look deflated and thin.  

A lip lift  removes a small wedge of skin from under the nose.  Once this wedge is sewed back together, it “lifts” the lip and flips it, for more dental show as well as show of the red lip. 

The entire procedure takes about an hour, and can be performed in the office. Most patients chose to take some medicine to help them relax during the procedure.  They are still awake, but drowsy and calm.  The area is numbed with local anesthesia before the procedure so the patients don’t feel pain. 

Who is a candidate?

Lift lip patients tend to fall into three categories: young patients who are tired of the endless cycle of lip fillers, older patients who want to restore the youth and fullness of their mouth, and transgender women who are seeking a more feminine lip shape through facial feminization

The ideal candidate for a lip lift surgery will be:

A healthy person who desires the appearance of fuller upper lip and to see more teeth
Those who have a thin upper lip and want a better balance between upper and lower lip
Those who have enough lengthy philtrum (upper lip area) where excess skin removal is possible
Patients who want to add length to the upper lip without adding volume

However, it’s important to know that a lip lift isn’t for everyone. Those who should take caution include:

Smokers who are unwilling to quit for a bit before and after the surgery
Patients who have a history of keloid formation or hypertrophic scarring
Patients who have a very rotated nose and little shadow under the nose
Those who already have gummy smile and excess dental show

How Much Does it Cost? 

The price for lip lift surgery will depend on a variety of factors, including where location and which surgeon is chosen. Because a lip lift surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure, it’s not covered by insurance.  Patients pay out of pocket, although most doctors have financing options available.

Generally, patients should expect to pay between $3000-$4000. 

Before the Procedure 

So, what does one need to do to prepare for a lip lift?

Quit smoking

Avoid drinking alcohol 72 hours before your surgery
Avoid ingesting aspirin or other blood-thinning medications 10 days prior to surgery
Stop any skin care products containing RetinA or Retinol one week before surgery

You should also speak with your surgeon about any medications you are on that could potentially affect the outcome of the surgery. 

Patients who are also considering a rhinoplasty should undergo the rhinoplasty first and then proceed with the lip lift 6 months later.

After the Surgery 

It’s essential that you follow the appropriate aftercare for proper healing.

Avoid strenuous exercise for 7 days after surgery
Apply Vaseline or Aquaphor 4-5 times per day to incision
Do not shower the first 48 hours after procedure
After 48 hours, it is ok to shower and wash the stitches with mild soap and water
After showering, clean any crusts off of incision with hydrogen peroxide
Patients can eat whatever they want, but eat foods with a knife and fork and avoid those that need to be bitten into (like an apple)
Sleep with your head slightly elevated 
Moisturize the lips for up to three months following surgery

Following these tips will ensure the best results possible. 

Lip Lift Surgery: Wrap Up 

Now that you know more about lip lift surgery, it’s time to decide if this procedure is right for you. 

The best candidates are patients who want a permanent solution to a short upper lip, and those who do not want to continue getting injections.  

Schedule a consultation with a facial plastic surgeon to discuss your options.  Before you know it, you’ll have the youthful, feminine lips of your dreams.