Fillers Got Your Lips Down? Try a Lip Lift.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 3:37 am

The upper lip can elongate with age and some dental procedures. This causes thinning of the lip with loss of volume secondary to the lip rolling inwards as it lengthens. The knee jerk response to this problem is adding filler to the upper lip to give it more volume, such as in a lip augmentation. Filler only makes this worse by accentuating the length of the upper lip by adding more volume at the bottom of the lip. Ultimately, the lip is left without shape and can result in the dreaded “duck-lip” look. Consideration for a lip lift procedure, is a patient who is dissatisfied with previous attempts at lip fillers and/or the upper lip completely covering the front teeth at natural repose. Typically, this is picked up in a facial rejuvenation consult because you have to look for it and identify it.

A lip lift is a surgical procedure which can be performed in the office or in combination with other facial procedures in the operating room. It is performed through a modified “gull wing” incision at the base of the nose which is an area of a natural skin crease. The upper lip is shortened through a conservative skin excision and shaped with the pattern of incision. This procedure naturally everts the upper lip giving it fullness without a “duck-lip” look. Two layers of stitches are used to secure the incision and help to contribute to healing in a fine line. The lip lift is over emphasized initially, but relaxes over the first two weeks. The stitches are left in place for about one week. Swelling and bruising can occur, but resolve after one week. A lip lift can be combined with peri-oral skin resurfacing such as a chemical peel in the same setting. Volumetric fillers can be added at a later date for added fullness and definition, though typically just the lip lift is needed for long lasting and natural shape to the upper lip.

A lip lift is not for every patient, but it is a very effective procedure that can return natural harmony to the peri-oral area.


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