Lip injections are very common procedures performed in my practice. Restylane is my preferred hyaluronic gel in most cases. I also perform lip lifts, both central and lateral (Valentine). However, these two different modalities achieve different things. A central lip lift is designed to decrease the distance from the nose to the central part of the upper lip. It is performed by removing skin and is most appropriate in those with an excessively long distance from the lip to the nose. Restylane injections are best suited for enhancing the upper border of the lip which often as flattened as one gets older. It can also be used to add volume to the lip. I do find that Restylane does elevate the corner of the mouth which tends to turn downwards as one gets older which at times can be similar to a lateral lip lift effect. Discuss with your surgeon your goals to determine the best treatment options for you.
I much prefer fillers versus a lip lift. Since I am a dermatologist and not a plastic surgeon I do not perform the lip lift but have had many patients come to me unhappy with the results and permanent scars. I much prefer a filler for this area since it is easily tolerated and has excellent results. It sounds like your last surgeon was very honest and encouraging you in the right direction.
Lip lifts are great for the right candidate and the scar is almost never seen if performed correctly. It is very well hidden in the nose crease and in all the cases I have done, I have never been able to find the scar weeks to months later. But this is only for people who need increased upper lip show, lip eversion, or deceased space between the lower nose and upper lip. It is not for people who need shaping or volume of the lip, this can be accompilished with fillers. So I would suggest a second opinion if you think you are a candidate. Best, Dr. Emer.