The upper lip lift, also known as lip shortening, is an incredibly elegant and subtle procedure. Most of our patients visit our practice to discuss this procedure to learn about it after having been filled improperly for years. It is a fantastic solution for so many issues related to the upper lip, yet so few people know to look for it.
What is a Lip Lift?
There are many forms of lip lifting procedures for the upper lip. Most surgeons rarely perform these procedures, so they hesitate to perform them in order to avoid unsightly scarring in their patients.
Newer techniques have emerged recently, which are better able to improve the appearance of the upper lip and mouth. Procedures like corner lip lifts are used judiciously in older patients to lift the corners of the mouth. New modifications and techniques have made this a truly stunning procedure.
The procedure can be performed awake or under twilight anesthesia in the office.
Incisions are hidden under the base of the nose in a natural crease. The modifications in flap elevation and tension-free skin closure allow fast healing and rapid disappearance of incision lines.
Why would I need a Lip Lift?
This procedure may benefit younger and older patients alike. In younger patients, the procedure is typically used to avoid obtaining a plastic appearance with fillers. It is important to understand that not all lips will benefit from fillers. The lift gives the upper lip a lighter and more defined appearance with greater volume and tooth show.
As you age, the upper lip loses volume and increases in length. When performed in older patients, the lift helps restore a more youthful facial balance and sensuality around the mouth. It also works wonders for improving lost lip volume as well as lipstick bleed lines and wrinkles.
What does a Lip Lift do?
The end result of a lip lift is subtle, but the benefits are substantial. Several changes are noted almost immediately:
- Shortening of the lip philtrum length between the nose and mouth
- Increased tooth show
- Increased sensuality of the mouth
- Shortening of the perceived length of the lower midface
- Turning the Cupid’s bow upwards – lip eversion
- Increasing the volume of the pink and white lip
- Improvement of lipstick bleed lines and wrinkles
- Subtle improvement of the corners of the mouth
- Makes the lips and lower face appear younger
- Improves the definition of the philtral columns and Cupid’s bow
Will an upper lip lift change my smile?
Once healed, the Upper Lip Lift typically presents a more relaxed, balanced and pleasant smile. If you look closely at most photos you will see less strain and pull around the lip and nasolabial folds during smiling. It is very unlikely that this procedure would worsen a gummy smile or change a smile for the worse.
Do I need to dissolve my fillers prior to a lip lift?
The hyaluronic acid filler that appears to migrate the most and cause the most edema and expansion is Juvederm. For most patients with Juvederm migrating north of the vermillion border we advise dissolving of the filler in that area at least 2 weeks prior to the procedure although it can be done just before as well. The filler in the pink lip usually doesn’t need to be dissolved.
Will I still need lip fillers after a lip lift?
A large number of patients get a lip lift in order to avoid the need for returning for repeated fillers. Still, after 3 months some patients choose to place fillers to increase their volume even more. The Modified Upper Lip Lift can actually make the lip more receptive to fillers by shortening the length of the lip and improving the eversion of the vermillion border.