-by Kylie Olson, Patient Consultant for Alex Montague, MD, highly-trained facial plastic surgeon
You may have heard all the buzz about the lip lift lately. What is it and why is it so popular? The plastic surgery field is no stranger to trends, and as with anything, we experience procedures that come and go as the field evolves. The lip lift is no exception. While it is not a new procedure and has been around for a while, it is becoming more popular. The lip lift is one of the lesser-known procedures at our practice, but its subtle, beautiful results are not to be ignored.
Lip Lifts Through Time
The lip lift has gone through an evolution over the years. Facial plastic surgeons used to perform “direct” lip lifts by making the incision directly on the vermilion border (the intersection between the white and red part of your lip) and cutting out skin directly overlying the lip. However, two issues arose with this incision placement: 1) occasionally the scarring itself was unfavorable, and 2) narrowing of the white area so that instead of having a naturally lighter area surrounding the lip, there was flattening which had an unnatural appearance. Thus, the sub-nasal lip lift was developed to hide the scar at the base of the nose.
Today, a sub-nasal lip lift addresses the central two-thirds of the lip more than the corners of the mouth, but when done properly, the corners of the mouth do experience a mild lift as well. There is a separate procedure to directly lift the corners of the mouth, but again, this can sometimes have unfavorable scarring or an unnatural appearance, so we do not perform this procedure at the Quatela Center.
What Does a Lip Lift Address?
An often lesser-noticed product of the aging face is the elongation and thinning of the upper lip. In addition to this result of aging, some people have a longer and thinner upper lip as a natural feature of their face.
Many patients are seeking a shorter, fuller upper lip that is more youthful. But another benefit of the lip lift procedure is that it can increase how much the teeth show when you smile.
Am I a Candidate for a Lip Lift?
An appropriate candidate for a lip lift is someone with an elongated upper lip and/or those with a thin red portion of the lip.
Is the Lip Lift Done Under Anesthesia?
One of the beauties of the lip lift is that it makes for a nice subsequent procedure that can be combined with nearly anything else we do. Our facial plastic surgeons do perform the lip lift in the operating room under anesthesia.
Where Are the Incisions for the Lip Lift?
The incisions we use for the lip lift are called the bullhorn lip lift excision. We position the incision in the natural crease at the nasal base, which typically is well hidden and heals very well.
What Downtime Can I Expect After a Lip Lift?
The overall recovery and downtime after a lip lift is usually around 10 to 14 days. The swelling from the procedure can be significant, with a minor degree of swelling expected for up to three months. The risks associated with the procedure are similar to any other, including infection, bleeding, swelling, and an altered temporary muscle weakness which can alter the smile, but which should not be permanent. Exercise can be resumed three weeks after the procedure.