After doing extensive research on lip lifts for...
After doing extensive research on lip lifts for over a year, and consulting with several doctors around the country who specialize in lip lifts, I selected Dr. Perenack in Baton Rouge and traveled from my home in Scottsdale, AZ to have it done.
My main goal was to reduce the length of my long upper lip (which was 20mm) and balance my features. Gaining some tooth show (I had absolutely nine) would be a plus, and I also hoped to roll the lip up to remedy how flat it was from the side view (ugh, very aging). I am 51 years old so my goal was not to get full, pouty Hollywood lips. At my age I just wanted wanted a natural, non-surgical look.
Dr. Perenack excised 6 mm of skin (he didn't cut or hem the muscle; this was a skin-only lip lift; be sure to research both methods carefully); he excised 7 mm in one small area of my upper lip where I had some assymetry. I opted for local anesthetic and experienced no pain. Dr. P is so good at this, I didn't even feel the numbing shots into my lips and gums, which others have described as painful. Before he gave me the numbing shots, he applied a thick numbing paste to the inside of my gums. So he numbed me for the numbing shots!
In the OR, I lay on the surgical table and listened to John Mayer and Maroon 5. I wasn't scared and I never felt pain the entire time. Dr. P excised the strip of skin, then did two layers of stitching, then zapped the seam with a laser and then did a third and final layer of stitches. He also put some Juvederm Ultra into my lower lip and some Juvederm Ultra Plus in the lip corner crevices (not everyone will need this; at 51, my lips are thinning and I'm getting some downward cracks at the corners). Then I was done and drove myself back to my hotel room where I spent the evening icing my lips.
I will post pics of my lips "Before" with markings Dr. P made prior to the surgery; of my lips immediately after surgery and of Day One post-procedure, which is where I'm at right now. Of course I'm a swollen mess right now but that will resolve with each passing day. I still have no tooth show but Dr. P says once the swelling is gone he thinks I will have 1.2 mm of tooth show. I will post more pics as I heal!
Day One Photos
The scar is neat and tidy - I can tell it's going to look great when I'm done healing.
Photos 3 Days Post-Procedure
No pain whatsoever. Somb numbness, tightness and the bruises darkened. I look like I have a bruise-mustache! Am hanging on the homefront, laying low and just patiently waiting it out...
Feeling discouraged on Day 10...
Trying to be patient - I'm sure everyone heals at a different pace but wouldn't you know I'd be on the slow side. I was supposed to be back at work today but I'm still bruised and the incision is still on the red-and-raw side so I called in sick. I have one stitch that's trying to poke its way out and looks like a pimple, even though it's not. Ideally I need the rest of this week to hide out but I won't be able to pull that off at work. Hopefully when I go back tomorrow I will just look like my nose is raw from a nasty head cold?
Also, I am starting to worry that I should have had more mm of skin excised - I still have zero tooth show. Again, am trying to be patient and not to draw premature conclusions. But what what a drag would it be to have to do it all over again several months from now...
So one thing I can advise those of you who are considering a lip lift is to ask your doctor during your consultation, "What happens if the result is too conservative and I need a revision?" I never thought to ask Dr. Perenack this question so I don't know how it would work in terms of cost...does he charge a reduced amount, etc. Right now I feel depressed because it seems like I paid a ton of money to go from having a really long upper lip to a on-the-longish side upper lip! Dr. Perenack did tell me he leans toward the conservative and of course that sure beats the alternative of having too much taken out...but right now I have to say the jury is still out for me. Keep you posted!
Photos Day 10
I am also going to research veneers and corner of the mouth lift as I believe both would help enhance my result. Argh, more time and money!
Check out how much prettier in profile post-lip lift!
I hadn't really mentioned before how much Dr. Perenack improved my profile with his lip lift technique, but I really love it. So natural-looking - subtle yet what a difference! Thank you, Dr. Perenack.
One month post-op
Hi everyone, I'm posting more pics - today is my one-month marker and the results from my lip lift keep getting better. Still zero tooth show - unless I tilt my head back a bit - but I'm still glad I did it; it's definitely been an improvement! I'm posting pics below. I have had some post-op inflamed cyst-like nodules along my incision line. Dr. Perenack called in a prescription for doxycycline and it went away, but yesterday I got another new one. So he is refilling the doxy. Dr. Perenack has called me a couple of times to check in. The downside to traveling a long distance to have a surgical procedure is that you can't just pop in to see your doc if you have any post-op issues. But at least Dr. P. responds right away which I appreciate. I still have some numbness and a little swelling along the incision line but that's to be expected at only one month out. The incision is a bit inflamed from the persisting nodules. Hopefully it will be gone soon - Monday is my birthday followed by Christmas with social activities. But makeup helps cover it up, thank goodness. Pics posted below. Merry Christmas RealSelf Sisters! Thank you all for your ongoing support!
Photos - one month post-op
Very natural-looking results, nothing fake that screams surgery, thank God (and thanks Dr. Perenack)! Still hoping for a smidge of tooth show...Dr. P says it's still possible as the swelling subsists and things continue to "settle." The centering under the columella is improving as the swelling goes down, too.
Two Months Post
21 Jan 2014
2 months post
Still have some numbness and stiffness around the incision area, but the results definitely look natural. Posting new pics!
10 Weeks Post-Op
29 Jan 2014
2 months post
Swelling and numbness continue to dissipate each week. Very natural-looking results. Still no tooth show in repose.
About to undergo second lip lift!
Hi RealSelf Sisters, it's been almost two years since my lip lift and I made the decision to have a few more mm of skin excised. My first lip lift was done well but my philtrum isn't still longer than I would like and I have zero tooth show. My second surgery is scheduled for August 28th and I'm calm and relaxed about it since I know what to expect, having gone through it before. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the recovery - mine was longer than most to look "normal" again, and it took many months for the numbness to go away.
This time, I am having my procedure done by a different doctor, only because I don't want to travel all the way to Baton Rouge again. Instead I'm hopping a one hour flight to San Diego and having my lip lift with Dr. Hilinski. He dies beautiful lip lifts just like Dr. P. with natural-looking results. I trust him not to make me look "done" or "hiked up." At my consult he said he's thinking he will excise 5 mm. I will post my progress. Sure hope I don't experience those nasty, pimple-like "bumps" along the incision line again...that took a month to eradicate last time, ugh. Anyway, wish me luck! Here's a current photo of my lips.
Profile Photo "Before"
I forgot to mention that my upper lip "flattened out" again after my first lip lift. When I first had it done it rolled up in a very pretty, feminine way but almost two years later that is no longer the case. Hoping my second procedure will bring back my original result - it was so pretty!
Here are more "Before" photos, before second lip lift
I'm one week away from my second lip lift and am posting these photos in the hope that some of you may offer your opinion. My goals are to shorten the philtrum a little more so i don't look long-lipped in repose; to (hopefully) getting a little upper tooth show (right now I have none); to lift the lip in profile so my dude view doesn't look so flat; and to get my upper lip better centered when my surgeon stitches me up. It used to be perfectly centered pre-LL number one, but the way I was stitched back up, is slightly off-center. I also plan to put a little filler back in to enhance the fullness of my lips.
Full Face BEFORE 2nd Lip Lift
Okay girls, I'm being brave here and posting some full face photos from varying angles. Round 2 lip lift is day after tomorrow (Friday). Gulp!
Just before surgery...
Here I am on my way to Dr. Hikinski's
Here are my lip lift surgical markings...
Dr. Hilinski and I agreed to keep it natural - so you can see from the markings that it's about 4-5mm that he's taking. He did not want to take more from the sides/corners for whatever reason? I know some girls have blogged that they had 5 mm removed from center and 8-9 from sides, so I did ask about that but decided to trust his judgment.
Day One of 2nd Lip Lift
These photos were taken immediately after surgery. No, I did not do anything to my nose...the surgical tape is to help keep my nose from swelling. Dr. Hilinski used "vertical mattress" stitching and he said it's unlikely I will get those awful cysts along the incision line that I got from my original lip lift stitches (although it's still a possibility). Also, he put some Restylane filler in my lower lip as well as in the corners to help nudge them up a bit.
Here are a few tips if you're about to undergo Lip Lift
It's important to ice the area for the first 48 hours post-surgery, to help reduce swelling. Put its difficult to get the ice pack or even crushed ice to "fit" just under the nose. Dr. Hilinski offered this great tip that I'd never heard of before: get some Caro syrup and pour some into a snack-sized Baggie, then put the Baggie in the freezer. He said it will me malleable and will mold right onto the incision under the nose! Also, I had to endure the painful numbing shots for this second lip lift when for my first lip lift procedure, the doctor used a numbing paste along the inside of my upper gums. He let it sit for 5 minutes to take effect and then gave me the shots. I never felt a thing! So I asked Dr. Hilinski about this. He was interested and said that probably because my first doctor (Perenack) is a craniofacial doctor, he would be familiar with such a paste. Girls, its worth asking your dentist where you can get some numbing paste! I mean, the pain from the shots is brief before the anesthetic kicks in, and I am very stoic so I endured it without flinching. But why suffer at all when it could be so easily remedied?
Much more swollen today, but that's to be expected on Days 2 & 3. So I'm hiding out in my hotel room with my two chihuahuas on my lap, keeping me company!
Day 3, Swollen Mess!
Definitely more swelling from my second lip lift than from my first, likely because of scar tissue. But no bruising, which I had the first time, so I've got that going for me LOL
Day 5 - Allergic Reaction to the Adhesive in the Surgical Tape
Ugh, my skin has erupted in a hideous rash where the surgical tape was. So I stopped taping my nose to prevent swelling - I'd rather have a swollen nose than hives. One of my best features is my complexion and my usual porcelain is now a mottled, bumpy mess. Tomorrow I get my stitches out and I will ask Dr. H for a cortisone cream to clear it up. Lips still swollen but I expected that. Just not a hideous rash. So I'm still holed up in my hotel room, in hiding.