There are a number of reasons men and women come to me to have a lip lift surgery. Some patients have naturally long and thin upper lips and a lip lift reshapes the lip proportions to create younger and fuller lips, and to rejuvenate the face. For others, the aging process lengthens the upper lip (the area from the top of the lip to the base of the nose becomes too long, hiding the upper teeth). A lip lift will shorten the cutaneous upper lip, reducing this area and creating balance to the lower third of the face. More upper teeth showing is a sign of youth.
A lip lift is one of the most powerful but still overlooked facial rejuvenation procedures with fast recovery and high impact. Many people focus on only fuller lips, but fuller lips are not necessarily more beautiful lips. What really matters is the upper and lower lip proportions and the right projection respecting the lip anatomy. No “duck lip look” for my patients!
A lip lift is a powerful and permanent lip rejuvenation procedure commonly done under local anesthesia to shorten the cutaneous upper lip, to reshape the upper lip and to improve facial balance.
How is the lip lift performed?
The lip lift procedure is performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. It is a common procedure and there is usually only minimal discomfort associated with the process. A small incision contouring the natural crease at the base of the nose is made after careful measurements and skin markings. The excessive skin and subcutaneous tissue are removed and the upper lip muscle is sutured in a higher position to reshape the upper lip. Then the skin is sutured at the crease under the nose with no tension, shortening the upper lip. The patient is on their way home right after the procedure is completed.
Is there an alternative to lip lift surgery?
Yes. Dermal fillers can be used to reshape the lips and plump the lips, to sharpen the lip edges and improve fine wrinkles (“bar code lines” around the lips). However, when the upper lip is longer, only a small amount of fillers are recommended to avoid the “duck lip” look. In that case, a combination of a lip lift and fillers may be ideal. Filler injections are done in a few minutes in the office with topical anesthesia and little downtime. Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane® and Juvederm® are the most commonly used fillers in our practice for lip enhancement. They are absorbable, reversible and can last for 6-12 months.
Do lip lifts leave a scar?
A fine line is seen hidden at the crease of the nose for a few weeks after a lip lift, but with good surgical technique, good post-procedure scar treatment and sun protection, at 6 months post-procedure the scars are rarely visible.
Do lip lifts look natural?
A lip lift is one of the most powerful rejuvenation tools for the perioral area and the face. It creates beautiful, fuller lips and facial balance. As with any cosmetic surgery to the face, it takes skill and care to create the most natural and well-balanced look possible for a particular face type. Every patient is measured individually and the procedure is tailored according to the facial features and desired results.
How long do lip lifts last?
Unlike other treatments, such as lip fillers, the lip lift is a permanent lip rejuvenation procedure for the upper lip and an excellent choice for longer lasting, fuller and better shaped upper lips. However, as we age, we naturally lose some upper and lower lip volume. Depending on patients’ characteristics and goals, we can maintain the surgical results or create more lip fullness with fillers.
How long is the recovery time?
It is suggested to rest for 24 hours after a lip lift surgery. Within a week, the sutures are removed. There is bruising and swelling for 5-10 days, but the results can be appreciated right after the procedure. There is also some lip stiffness for a couple of weeks and in about 4-6 weeks the lips are looking natural and well-shaped with minimal residual swelling.
How can I get started to learn more?
If you are interested in discussing a lip lift, or any other facial rejuvenation procedure, it will be my pleasure to see you in the office for an in-person consultation. We can talk about the different lip lift techniques, go over the specific areas you are looking to improve, and we will answer any questions you have.
Plastic surgery through a woman’s eye
Dr. Gabriele Miotto, Atlanta plastic surgeon known for her beautiful, natural results and high patient satisfaction.
Surgery and Recovery Information
After the procedure
The lip lift is an outpatient surgery done under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. After the procedure, there will be visible fine skin sutures in the incisions, some bruising and swelling.
A lip lift surgery is not a painful procedure, but mild discomfort and feeling of tightness in the upper lip are expected for a few days to a few weeks after surgery. We prepare the patients with preoperative and postoperative medication and supplementation, ice and anti-inflammatories. Frequently combined procedures with a lip lift are other facial rejuvenation procedures such as lip fillers, blepharoplasty or eyelid lift, fat grafting to the face, skin resurfacing with a chemical peel or microneedling.
Sutures are removed between 5-7 days after the surgery. Return to normal daily activities in 5-7 days. Expect at least 8 weeks for committing to major social events as residual swelling can remain for some patients after surgery. We are all different, so it is hard to predict who will get more or less swelling and bruising.
General preoperative recommendations for a lip lift:
What to avoid before the lip lift procedure:
- DO NOT take any aspirin for 7-10 days before your scheduled procedure. Do not take NSAIDS (Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen) for 5 days before surgery. You may take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) if needed for aches or pains. Please contact the office at if you have any questions about any medications that you are taking or if you are prescribed aspirin by your cardiologist or Primary Care Provider (PCP).
- Discontinue Vitamin E 10 days before surgery.
- Avoid the following herbal supplements for 10 days before surgery: Echinacea, Ephedra / Phentermine (used for weight loss), Feverfew, Fish Oils, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenseal, Kava-Kava, Licorice, Saw Palmetto, St. John’s Wort and Valerian.
- Stop Smoking. The harmful effects of smoking can cause tissue death, infection, and open wounds. It also makes you age faster!
- Alcohol can promote swelling of the surgical area and it is best to avoid alcohol intake for at least one week before surgery.
What to take before the lip lift:
- Dr Miotto will prescribe some supplements and medications to help speed up recovery and any discomfort after surgery.
General postoperative recommendations after lip lift:
- If the procedure is done under general anesthesia or sedation, you MUST have a responsible adult to transport you home and stay with you for a full twenty-four hours after your surgery. You will be unable to drive if you are taking narcotics.
- Icing the operated area is recommended to reduce swelling.
- It is recommended to elevate the head with two to three pillows after all facial procedures.
- Do not take sun on your face until visible bruising and swelling are present.
- Scar treatment is recommended by Dr Miotto after postoperative follow-up evaluation.
- You can shower twenty-four hours after surgery. You may clean the incisions as instructed by Dr Miotto or her nurses after the procedure.
- Do not submerge yourself into a tub/pool until all wounds have healed (usually in 3 weeks).
- Do not scrub the surgical sites, however you can allow soapy water to run over them.
- Avoid lotions on the surgical sites for 2 weeks, but you can moisturize any other areas as desired.
Returning to Work:
- Recovery time will vary; however, most patients return to work within a few days to 1 week after the procedure.
- Immediately following surgery, it is best to eat bland, easily-digested food and avoid excess sugar and salt. Healthy proteins (eggs, lean meat, beans, nuts), rice, fruits and cooked vegetables (broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes) will provide your body with nutrients essential for healing.
- Eat a few bites of food before taking pain medications as these can cause nausea.
- A diet low in sodium will help minimize swelling and water retention.
- Drink plenty of water! Drinking low sugar sports drinks and protein shakes are recommended.
- Keep in mind that our goal in aesthetic surgery is improvement and not perfection. You will be followed closely after surgery to assure that you heal well and have the best possible results.
- It can take months for the very final results of your surgery be apparent. After 12 weeks, you can expect your results to be mostly permanent. Expect subtle changes in swelling and healing (including the appearance of scarring) to continue to improve for up to twelve months.
- It is important for you to keep open communication with your physician and return for your follow up visits. We will take pre and post pictures along the way and look at the final results together.
GABRIELE C. MIOTTO MD, MEd., is a Brazillian-American plastic surgeon specialized in aesthetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures, specially of the face, eyes, nose, breast and liposuction.
Call 404-850-5851 for your consultation.