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
Your surgeon 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.
During the lip lift procedure, excess skin is removed in the upper lip area to shorten its vertical length. To achieve the desired measurement, one of two techniques can be performed. The first involves an incision made along the red lip border (lip roll), where a small section of the skin is then removed. As a result, the upper lip is elevated and shortened. However, this technique can cause a scar to be prominent in some patients.
The second and more popular approach involves making an incision under the nose where it meets the upper lip. This is called a subnasale upper lip lift since the incision is placed below (sub) the nose (nasale). This type of lip lift has also been commonly referred to as a bull horn upper lip lift based on the shape of the actual incision used for the lift.
Once the excess amount of skin is removed, the upper lip is lifted by suturing the cut edges together. It is important to close the incision in layers – meaning it is vital that sutures are placed deep underneath the skin to provide adequate strength for the lip to maintain proper shape. Once the deep sutures are placed, the skin edges are then meticulously aligned to make the incision as least visible as possible.
Recovery from a subnasale lip lift varies between 5-7 days before you look more publicly presentable. There is usually a moderate amount of swelling the first 72 hours, which can be controlled with cold compresses over the upper lip. Pain is controlled with low dose narcotic medication. The sutures are typically removed around 5 days out from the surgery. There is normally some degree of what is called wound eversion, where the incision looks raised up slightly like a ridge.
This initial swelling and tissue distortion can take another few weeks to settle down. Ultimately, like any incision, it can take upwards of one year before the scar fully matures and fades away.
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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