The Surgeon Minute

Reestablishing the Luscious with a Lip Lift

Reestablishing the Luscious with a Lip Lift

Luscious, full lips have been desirable throughout history. Cultures dating back thousands of years realize the power of strong lips, with persons like Cleopatra crushing bugs to create a red lipstick. Even with the help of lipstick, not everyone is genetically blessed with large and full lips. Perhaps it’s not too late!

A lip lift is a surgical procedure that shortens the distance between the upper lip and the nose. Great for younger women in their 30’s and 40’s who were born with a long lip, a lip lift can be a crucial component of facial rejuvenation for patient’s in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Baxter of Seattle, WA discusses the lip lift and why he feels that it is the “missing link” when it comes to facial aging.

Facial Rejuvenation & the Lip Lift

How and at what rate a person’s face ages is going to depend on any number of factors, including:

  • genetics
  • weight gain/loss
  • lifestyle choices (smoking & sun damage)
  • eating habits
  • skin care

Lip lift overview.

And while there are any number of surgical and non-surgical procedures to address a loss of volume, excess skin, and loose muscles in the face, neck and eyes, “one of the things that’s overlooked a lot in facial aging – sort of the missing link – is elongation of the upper lip,” explains Baxter. Oftentimes, you will see before and after pictures where the jawline looks good, the neck looks great and the cheeks are shaped, but the face still looks off.

Something is still not quite right, and it’s all to do with an elongated upper lip. This is an issue that many plastic surgeons and patents have tried to address with filler, but the result is often the dreaded “duck lips.” But no more!

Lip Augmentation vs. Lip Lift

Fillers are fantastic for restoring lost volume to the lips. With age, we all lose volume in our face, including our lips. A lip augmentation is a simple way to rejuvenate your face, especially today with lighter weight fillers such as Juvéderm’s Volbella.

But while a lip augmentation can “plump up” your lips, when they are used to try and shorten the distance between the upper lip and the nose, the result can be very strange looking. Why? When you have a long lip and then you put a bunch of filler at the edge of the lip, you can wind up with duck lips. In fact, patients will often come in seeking a lip lift exactly because they have had a bad experience with filler. A lip lift surgically shortens the distance between the lip and the nose, delivering a much more natural and youthful looking result than filler.

Lip Lift Procedure

A lip lift is typically done in the operating room or accredited surgical center under local anesthesia. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision in the shape of mustache in the crease right under your nose. “It’s a very well hidden little scar right at the base of the nose,” explains Dr. Baxter. He or she will then trim the excess skin thus pulling up the upper lip. This creates a more pillowy, plush look to your upper lip. It’s almost as if the upper lip was hiding underneath itself, and the lip lift simply brings it out into the open.

Lip lift patient - Dr. Baxter.

The downtime from a lip lift is very minimal; patients can expect to be swollen for the first 2-3 days. Most surgeons recommend cold compresses and over the counter pain medications to mitigate these symptoms. However, at 5-7 days, your stitches are removed and you can return to your normal life looking perfectly presentable.

Are You a Candidate for a Lip Lift?

A lip lift can be done at almost any age, although you do need at least 1.5 centimeters of excess skin. A lip lift can be a great option for patients who desire:

  • a more prominent cupid’s bow or top curve to the upper lip
  • more fullness
  • lips that are more proportional
  • to rejuvenate thin, aging lips
  • more teeth to show when they smile thus turning a frown around

Lip lift results.

For patients in their 30’s and 40’s who are simply born with a long lip, a lip lift can deliver a poutier, plusher look to the lips. For patients in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who have already embraced other forms of facial rejuvenation, the lip lift can simply help to bring everything into proper alignment or balance.

Benefits of a Lip Lift

There are any number of benefits to a lip lift. It can:

  • reduce the distance between the upper lip and nose
  • expose more of your teeth when you smile
  • improve the wrinkles that cause “lipstick bleed”
  • create more of Cupid’s bow, a sign of sensuality
  • make your lips & lower face look more youthful
  • restore balance to your face
  • pump of the volume in your lips in a natural looking way

One of the greatest benefits of a lip lift as opposed to filler is that the results are permanent. If you are not loving the look of your lips, it might be time to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss a lip lift. It’s a little procedure that can pack a powerful punch.

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