Upper Lip Surgical Lift, At A Glance
- Best ResultsOne session
- Treatment Recovery7-9 days
- Procedure Time60 minutes
- Skin SpecialistDermatologist, Davin Lim
- Duration of ResultsYears+++
- AnaestheticBlocks & sedation
- Back to Work7 days
FactsFacts on Upper Lip Surgical Lift
- A surgical lip lift is most often performed in patients who have a long lip to nasal spine ratio
- With age there is a downward descent of the lip, coupled with lip inversion
- Lip inversion is a term used to describe the hidden red border of the lips
- Surgical lip lifting can complement lip dermal fillers
Who would benefit from a surgical lip lift?
Lip lift surgery is most appropriate for patients who have teeth that can appear hidden by a lengthened or sagging upper lip area – or also known as an ‘elongated philtrum’.
This can be due to genetics, but most often associated with chronological skin aging. In this context surgery is the most sensible option to reduce the height between the upper lip & the base of the nose. A surgical lip lift can evert the upper lip & provide better proportions in the perioral area.
What is a surgical lip lift?
A lip lift involves making a small wavy incision across the base of the nose, extending to the alar (sides of the nose). I then remove 2-7 millimetres of skin from the top lip.
The next step is to lift the entire upper lip, suturing the new margin to the base of the nose with both internal dissolving and external sutures. Lip lift surgery will –
- Evert the pink margin of the upper lip with an aim of showing 2-3 millimetres of teeth
- Reduce the height of the upper lip
- Provide better balance of the perioral area
- Allows placement of dermal filler in areas to provide more eversion of the lips
What does surgery involve?
This procedure is conducted under mild sedation in our operating theatre at Cutis Medical. A sedative is administered either orally or IV an hour before the procedure.
- Blocks are administered to the upper lip & the base of the nose
- A surgical incision is performed removing a precise amount of upper lip skin
- Internal sutures are placed to elevate the upper lip
- External sutures evert the skin
- In most cases fractional deep CO2 laser is applied to the upper lip, further contracting collagen & reducing lines & wrinkles
- The procedure takes approximately 60 minutes to perform
How long will I need off work?
7-8 days. The external sutures are removed at day 5-6. Swelling typically improves after the second week. If you are having laser resurfacing at the same time of surgery, it can take 7+ days to heal.
I will give you an accurate understanding of your recovery time.
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Is this treatment painful?
No. I perform this procedure under partial sedation & local anaesthetic blocks. It is painless. Post operatively you may experience a dull ache for a few days.
Is there scarring after the procedure?
I hide the suture line within the base of the nose, extending slightly into each nostril. Over a period of 6 to 9 months, the scar line will improve. To quicken scar remodelling I use both vascular lasers (reduces redness) and fractional ablative lasers (reduces scar width), starting approximately 2-4 weeks after surgery.
Raised scars are rare & seen more commonly in younger patients (less than 50 years old) & or Asian extraction.
When will I notice the results?
Immediately. As a guide I elevate the upper lip by 2-7 mm depending on the distance – height of the upper lip to the base of the nose.
Overcorrection (exaggerated lifting) will be present for up to 4 weeks, as the upper lip will drop by 10-20%. The best results will be after 6 to 9 months after the surgery when scar tissue remodels. If I do not give over correction, the end results will not be as apparent.
What treatment options are there for rejuvenating the lip area?
The lip area is complex. It goes far beyond injecting dermal fillers in the upper & lower lips. A good way to understand perioral rejuvenation is to examine key components that contribute to skin ageing, namely-
Skin quality. ‘Smoker’s lines’, sun-spots & dull skin can be improved using lasers or chemical peels. Ablative CO2 & or erbium lasers gives the best results. This resurfaces the skin, physically removing wrinkles. Recovery from ablative lasers range between 4-7+ days. Mild wrinkles can be treated with medium to deep chemical peels.
Monofilament MINT Threads can be useful to support the upper lip area. Approximately 10 to 30 threads are used. They provide collagen stimulation, especially when combined with energy devices. Threads in this area are not as predictable in their outcome compared to laser resurfacing.
Support: Support before volume is paramount in more mature patients. The support for the upper lip comes from placing filler in the ‘C’ area at the corners of the mouth. This adds volume & eversion of the upper & lower lips.
Lip volume: Mature lips can take 1-2 ml or more of HA fillers. The aim of injectables is to give an age-appropriate rejuvenation that ties in with the rest of the face. It is important not to overcorrect.
Can laser resurfacing be done at the same time?
Yes. In the majority of patients, I conduct CO2 or erbium fractional laser resurfacing in the same sitting. Laser is conducted immediately after surgery. I prefer to use ablative lasers as they stimulate more collagen & remove more wrinkles compared to other types of lasers.
As a guide, surgery itself takes 40 to 45 minutes to perform, whilst laser resurfacing takes 10 to 15 minutes. Downtime following laser surgery is approximately 5-7 days, which matches the time taken before sutures are removed. This means you are not doubling up with recovery.
How much does this procedure cost?
Cost will vary depending if other procedures such as laser resurfacing are carried out on the same day. This ranges from $2,900 to $4,990. (This includes lasers for scar mitigation post-surgery.)
Davin’s Viewpoint on Surgical Lip Lifting
This procedure is the standout procedure for the aging lip. Not everyone requires surgical intervention. People with a genetically short nasal base/spine to upper lip ratio may compensate over time to have a perfect ratio in the 50s/60s. Conversely those with a genetically ‘long’ upper lip/philtrium may benefit from a ratio correction earlier.
Lip lifting does so much more than correct the ratio of the upper lip to nose. This procedure can evert the upper lip. This can give much needed show of the teeth at rest.
For the correct lip, a lift can be adjunctive to lip dermal fillers.
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