A lip lift is a small operation designed to shorten the upper lip. In a youthful state, the upper lip is plump and only covers the top half of the front upper teeth. With age, the upper lip becomes thinner and longer and eventually covers the upper teeth completely. When the lip skin stretches this much, the vermillion (red part) eventually shrinks and rolls into the mouth and becomes hidden. This aged appearance of a long, thin, and often wrinkled upper lip can no longer be made to look youthful and rejuvenated by simply injecting fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm products. Attempting to address this complex aging process by simply adding volume usually creates an unnatural appearance.
For this reason, a LIP LIFT can be performed to shorten the upper lip so that it has its original length. This is done by removing a small strip of skin right in the crease where the upper lip meets the nose. This also improves the lip aesthetics by ‘rolling” out the lip, so that more of the vermillion (red part) is once again visible. Commonly a small amount of skin is also removed at the border of the upper lip toward the sides and corners of the mouth to improve the aged “frowning” or sad appearance at the same time.
For complete rejuvenation, volume can be easily added to the lips at the same time, using either common hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers or by injecting the patient’s own fat or by placing a strip of the patient’s own skin and fat inside the lip to permanently fix the thinness. The most complete lip rejuvenation finally adds laser resurfacing at the end of the procedure in order to remove wrinkles and restore smooth skin.
Because lip lifts are relatively short procedures taking less than an hour to complete, Dr Weniger often performs this surgery in the office with oral sedation such as with pills like Valium. In other cases, lip lifts are added to larger operations such as face lifts or eyelid surgery, and are then performed at the same time in the operating room while the patient is asleep.
Patients rarely describe pain after lip lifts, but pain medicine is provided just in case. Lip lifts usually cause very little bruising or swelling, but this will be worse if fillers are added. The sutures used are dissolvable and are gone within a week. Patients can use makeup by that time.
For more information and a consult to discuss lip rejuvenation with Dr. Weniger, call his office at 843-757-0123.