Upper Lip Lift. What Technique Do You Recommend?

I am a 28 year old female with thin lips and a long upper lip. I am considering lip lift and fillers to enhance the volume of my lip. I want to know which lip lift is better? Skin only lip lift or lip lift with the muscle bieng hemmed? I have heard that the skin only lip lift is not permenant and lip lift involving the muscle may cause stiff, numb lips and change the movement of the lips. I would really appriciate your advice. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3

Lip Lifts Should Be Skin Only Excisions

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Without question a subnasal lip lift should be done by skin excision only. Sewing the muscle in a lip lift is fraught with the potential for problems that you have described that may be irreversible and aesthetically distorting. While skin excision only lip lifts have the potential for some relapse or recurrent lengthening, that is a much more favorable problem to remedy should it occur without any long-term disturbance of lip movement or function. 

Lip Lift - Where Is The Scar?

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I am surprised to hear lip lifts are still done at the Vermillion border.  I thought that went out with high button shoes.  I recommend you get a lip lift at the nostril sill.  A lip lift at this anatomic position with darts into the nostrils on both sides leaves my patients with no visible scar 99% of the time and a permanent lift. 


I use HA fillers in lips at least 3 or 4 times per week, but as long as you are going to be in the operating room, why not get Alloderm.  If your plastic surgeon uses the thickest piece and doesn't roll it at all, you have an outstanding chance of having full lips for 3 to 5 years, and some residual forever which can then be augmented with fillers as needed. 

Lip lift in young skin

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Everyone is feels a little bit differently about lip lift procedures, but I personally discourage most of my patients from pursuing it.  Even in the best results there will always be a visible scar on the skin.  In young, healthy 28 year-old skin scars are even more difficult to hide. 

I would encourage you to first try lip augmentation using an injectable filler like Juvederm or Restylane.  Many times by adding volume to the lips the cupids bow and skin above the lips appears proportionately shorter. 


Hope this helps.

Christopher Kolstad, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

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