What is a lip lift? A double-board certified Philadelphia plastic surgeon answers your questions about the permanent lip filler alternative

Woman touching her lips after a lip lift with a board certified plastic surgeon

Lip lifts have become a popular no-filler procedure to enhance the natural lip line with long-lasting results. Serving the Philadelphia Main Line, plastic surgeon Dr. R. Brannon Claytor is passionate about educating patients on their aesthetic options, and finding the best combinations of non-surgical and plastic surgery procedures to fulfill appearance goals. Today, we are sitting down with him to answer your lip lift FAQs.

What is a lip lift?

A lip lift is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing a horizontal section of the philtrum—the skin between the nose and upper lip—through a small incision directly under the nose, thus repositioning the upper lip and raising it closer to the underside of the nose. This allows more of the lip to be exposed, creating a wider, more defined, and fuller-appearing lip. For many patients, this provides a satisfying improvement that allows them to use less lip filler, or avoid lip injections. Lip lifts are suitable for patients of any age; younger patients typically choose the procedure to create a stronger “cupid’s bow;” lips lifts are also often sought by patients experiencing typical signs of facial aging in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. While a lip lift is a relatively simple surgical procedure, success is dependent on customizing the procedure to the patient’s anatomy and specific goals.

While a lip lift is a relatively simple surgical procedure, success is dependent on customizing the procedure to the patient’s anatomy and specific goals.

What does a lip lift do?

A lip lift creates a larger upper lip by revealing more of the natural lip and achieving a more defined vermillion border (the lip line), without injections or implants. The procedure can also be used to improve symmetry and achieve a more proportionate look. Good candidates are non-smokers with an elongated philtrum who desire a naturally fuller, more exposed upper lip. However, a lip lift can’t do everything: if you have limited volume, or weathered and wrinkled lips, a lip augmentation may provide a more desirable outcome, or be used in conjunction with a lip lift to achieve a simultaneously volumizing and lifting effect.

How painful is a lip lift?

Local anesthesia is used to completely numb the area so you shouldn’t experience any discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, the incision site will be slightly swollen and tender for 1 to 2 weeks and you will need to be mindful of activity that could strain that area. Cold-compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers can be used as necessary to make the healing process more comfortable. To ensure healing progresses as planned and any residual soreness quickly resolves, avoid excessive lip movements and sleep with your head slightly elevated.

Does a lip lift leave a scar?

There will be a small, thin scar at the incision site that, with proper scar care, should heal to the point of near-invisibility over time. Make-up can be used to cover the healing scar after about 2 weeks; it will continue to fade over the next 3 months until concealer should no longer be necessary. That said, it is critical to protect your scar with sunscreen to avoid a darkened appearance. Should you need to lessen the appearance of a lip lift scar, laser skin resurfacing can be used at a later date.

Are lip lifts permanent?

As with most plastic surgery procedures, a lip lift provides a permanent structural change: the small portion of skin removed will change the relative proportions of your philtrum and upper lip. That said, aging and gravity will continue to affect your lips and skin and some patients, after a decade or more have passed, may wish for a touch-up lip lift procedure to correct for this. As you age, you will also naturally lose volume in your lips and face and may need to compensate for this loss to maintain your desired results; this can be remedied by a variety of facial injectables.

Are lip lifts worth it?

The fairly reasonable cost of lip lift plastic surgery and its short recovery period make it, for the right patient, well-worth the results that can be achieved. According to RealSelf, approximately 92% of patients felt their lip lift was “worth it.” Having a lip lift may even create savings over time, as your results may allow you to use less injectable lip fillers; talk to your plastic surgeon about what you can expect. Additionally, with results lasting up to 10 years or more, a lip lift’s longevity makes this procedure one to strongly consider.

According to RealSelf, approximately 92% of patients felt their lip lift was “worth it.”

Lip lift and lip augmentation in Main Line Philadelphia

If you desire more youthful and volumized lips, Dr. Claytor would be pleased to discuss your options at his Bryn Mawr office in Main Line. He will help you compare a full range of lip enhancement procedures and develop a tailored procedure plan. Schedule your free lip lift consultation by contacting the practice online or calling the office at (610) 527-4833.

More about Dr. Claytor

Dr. R. Brannon Claytor is an award-winning, double-board certified plastic surgeon who has been in practice for over 20 years and was named among Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Doctors in 2022. He serves Philadelphia plastic surgery patients in his beautiful Bryn Mawr office which includes an AAAASF-accredited on-site surgical center for the ultimate in safety and privacy.

Posted in: Lip Enhancement

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