The lip lift is a subtle clinic-based procedure, normally performed under local anaesthetic that rejuvenates the upper lip and reduces the distance between the upper lip and nose. It is an increasingly popular procedure with a fast recovery and natural appearing results. The scar is hidden beneath the nose and normally remains very inconspicuous. The overall effect of an upper lip is a younger, fresher mouth, an improvement to the shape of the lips and better facial proportions.
“In the well-selected patient, a lip lift can be truly transformational. It can improve facial proportions and restore facial harmony. In others it can rejuvenate. Lip lifts have become a commonly performed procedure in my practice”
A lip lift is suitable for a wide variety of people and faces. It is particularly useful in the treatment of facial ageing, when the natural tendency is for the length of the upper lip, measured from the base of the nose to the top of the pink lip, to elongate over time. It can also balance the face in those with a naturally long upper lip, especially when there is a transverse crease that develops. Finally an upper lip lift can have a role in helping to balance the face in people whose nose may have been over-shortened following a rhinoplasty.
What does the surgery involve?
The procedure is a clinic-based procedure, so there is no need to go to a hospital to have a lip lift performed. Markings are carefully made in the upper lip, each designed slightly different depending on the individual. On the whole, the markings often resemble the appearance of a bull’s horns, the Batman insignia or Hercule Poirot’s moustache. Local anaesthetic is gently injected to freeze the area, and the area is then cleaned ready for the surgery.
The pre-planned area is removed, and deep stitches are used to support the lifted tissue to the base of the nose. This is the key to the lift. Small skin stitches are them placed to neatly close the wound, leaving a scar hidden under the base of the nose, and around the base of the nostrils.
“I modify my lip lift technique according to the desired outcome – making each pattern slightly different for each patient. This is particularly important when considering where the maximal lift needs to be. One of the keys to getting a subtle scar is to ensure that the lifted tissue is securely anchored to the tough deep tissue at the base of the nose, and to ensure that the skin itself has minimal tension. In fact, after I have put the deep stitches in, the skin is almost lined up in the perfect position, so the skin stitches are principally to ensure the best scar possible”
What are the benefits?
A lip lift offers a variety of benefits. They include restoring a younger, fresher appearing mouth, improving the shape of the pink lips and providing an overall improvement and balance to the facial proportions. Please see my before and after gallery to see some other examples of lip lift results.
What is the recovery period?
You can expect to have swelling after the surgery – this may increase over the first 24-48 hours before it subsides. It normally takes a week or two for the majority of the swelling to go, but residual swelling can take 6-weeks to settle down. During this period, you may feel as though you temporarily cannot smile completely, but this is only transient. Stitches are removed at 1-week and scar care is started at 2-weeks.
How long before getting back to normal?
When the stitches are out, at a week, we normally reapply surgical tape. However, there is no problem going out socially soon after the procedure. To get the best guide, please see some of the patient photographs we have included below.
What are the success rates?
An upper lip lift is a very satisfying operation with a high success rate and a low complication rate. Patient feedback is very good and it is a procedure that is growing in popularity.
What are the risks
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with an upper lip lift, although fortunately these are not common or serious.
Wound infections can occur, which are usually easily treated with antibiotics. Some nuisance bleeding later in the day after the procedure can occur, but this should not be significant and if it occurs, it should stop with pressure.
Poor scarring is not usually seen, however, as with any surgery, some people might have a tendency to develop hypertrophic scars (thickened scars). If this happens, treatment with steroid injections might be required, at further cost.
Asymmetry – the markings are done in a way to achieve as good symmetry as possible, however, a small degree of asymmetry is possible. If this is subtle it is not usually corrected, however if significant, it might require further surgery to resolve the situation.