Sometimes, our lips simply don’t have the volume we’d like them to have. As we age, the length of our upper lips increases, which causes our lips to appear even thinner. Dermal fillers are one way to increase the volume of the lips, but they require maintenance over time. A surgical lip lift is a more permanent way to improve the appearance of the lips without the need for regular maintenance.
Typically done under local anesthesia in less than an hour, the operation shortens the space between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lips (aka the philtrum) by carving out a bullhorn-shaped strip of skin just below the nostrils. This procedure raises the vermilion border (the edges of the lips) causing lips to look more enhanced, and defines the Cupid’s bow, so its curves are prominent and crisp.
Although it’s more invasive than dermal fillers, recovery from a lip lift is surprisingly quick, and pain is limited. Most patients find that they are able to manage their pain without prescription pain medication, just over-the-counter medication and ice, and that they can resume regular activities after about a week.
If you’re looking for a permanent way to improve the fullness and shape of your lips, a lip lift might be right for you.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE?
A good candidate for a lip lift meets the following criteria:
In reasonably good health and does not have any medical conditions that would impair healing (such as hypertension or diabetes)
Has realistic expectations and a positive outlook
Is not a smoker
If you smoke, you will be asked to quit smoking two months prior to treatment as well as during recovery to reduce risk of bleeding. If you do not follow these instructions, your surgery will be cancelled for your safety.
The purpose of your consultation with Dr. Majewski is to evaluate whether you are a candidate for a lip lift (or a different procedure) and to develop a treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals.
Dr. Majewski will ask you questions about:
Your surgical goals
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Previous surgeries, injections, or traumas in the facial area
Dr. Majewski will also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Discuss your surgical and non-surgical options
Examine and measure your face
Recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications
Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
The consultation is the time to ask Dr. Majewski any questions you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, and expected results.
It's very important to understand all aspects of your lip lift procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress - or both. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr. Majewski. You’ll feel most confident about your procedure, recovery, and results if you know exactly what to expect.
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Dr. Majewski will recommend the best choice for you.
The goal of the lip lift procedure is to remove excess skin in the upper lip area, thereby shortening its vertical length. There are two techniques that can be used. In the first technique, an incision is made along the red lip border (also called a lip roll), from which a small section of the skin can be removed.
Because this first technique is more likely to create visible scars in some patients, most surgeons prefer to use a different technique called a subnasale lip lift. In this approach, an incision is based below the nose, which creates a less prominent scar. The excess skin is removed, then the upper lift is lifted by attaching the cut edges together using sutures.
The sutures are placed in layers (beneath the surface of the skin) to ensure that the lip maintains its proper shape. Then, Dr. Majewski carefully aligns the skin edges and sutures them together to make the incision as undetectable as possible.
The active recovery period from lip lift surgery lasts about 5-7 days. Patients usually experience a moderate amount of swelling and may experience some pain or discomfort in the first 72 hours. Dr. Majewski will recommend the use of cold compresses to reduce swelling, and will also prescribe medication to reduce bothersome pain and discomfort. Most patients feel comfortable switching to OTC pain medication after this initial recovery period.
About 5 days after surgery, you will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment during which Dr. Majewski will evaluate your progress and remove your sutures. You might find that your wound remains elevated (like a ridge) even after the sutures are removed. This is normal and should go down with time.
Most patients feel comfortable resuming normal activity and being seen in public within 5-7 days after surgery, but you should consult with Dr. Majewski about when you will be safe to return to any intense physical activity. As with all surgeries, it is always better to err on the side of caution during the recovery period.
The incision from lip lift surgery is small and should disappear with time. Dr. Majewski will recommend a scar gel you can use (once sutures are removed) to speed up healing and reduce the risk of scarring. Applying SPF and limiting sun exposure will also help avoid any detectable scarring.
With a short recovery time and visible results, the lip lift procedure is growing in popularity with patients. Although the changes made in the lip lift procedure are subtle, they can improve your overall appearance drastically by creating fuller, sexier, and more youthful-looking lips.
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