Lip Lift - Female, Early 30's - Baltimore, MD

I have been self-conscious about my mouth for...

I have been self-conscious about my mouth for years. I have a big mouth and an expressive face--but straight, thin lips. A few years ago I noticed how little my teeth showed when I talked (mostly from Skyping and making videos). I have to constantly smile as I talk in order to look pleasant.
I don't want to have to think about smiling all the time... Also, I've ALWAYS had to curl my lip way up in photos in order to get my teeth to show. As I get older, this looks worse, as my upper face has to really crinkle up.

My long philtrum is definitely genetic.

I've been creeping RealSelf for about three years, trying to decide if I wanted to have a lip lift. I tried injections once, but it just felt and looked odd. Plus, I don't like the idea of having something foreign in my body.

Well, I finally got the ovaries to schedule a video consultation with Dr. Rodriguez last Spring. He made me feel very confident about going forward, but I sat on it all summer.

Don't know what snapped, but back in August I decided it was time, scheduled the appointment, and got my plane ticket to Baltimore.

I've definitely had a couple of "what have I done to myself" moments, as well as "this is a stupid, vain thing to do, you petty person." But as I slide into day 9, I'm starting to feel really pleased with my result and excited about what looks like a new and improved face. I've read on Real Self that the procedure helps a lot with overall facial balance, and that alone is a major upgrade to me.

My doctor measured my philtrum at 1.7 mm, and we agreed to bring it up to 1.2 - 1.3. Apparently the "ideal" is 1.1.

I didn't take the Klonopin and codeine prescribed for right before the procedure. I was fully alert the entire time... He gave me some pretty gnarly shots in the face, but I just gritted my teeth and thought of a butterfly. I could feel with my tongue that my top lip puffed up. Once I was numbed out, his nurse covered my eyes.

The procedure took about an hour. I couldn't feel anything but some tugging now and then and the pressure from the doctor's hands on my face. It was definitely a test of my wits to lie there motionless while part of my face was cut open/cut out. BUT I'm a control freak by nature and didn't want to be out of it. Plus, I had to drive myself back to the hotel.

Immediately after the procedure, I looked in the mirror, and was amazed. Such an improvement (although a bit rabbity from the swelling). I drove to my hotel, took one codeine, and went straight to bed.

When I woke up in the middle of the night I was hurting. I remember lying there thinking, "a horse is sitting on my face." Not fun. So for the next round of codeine I took TWO and proceeded to pass smooth out.

Flying home the next morning was a pain. I had to change planes. If you travel to do this, for the love of all that is holy, get a one-way ticket. I was skulking around in a surgical mask hunting for ice in the airport, trying to stealthily slurp nourishment under the mask. What torture...

When I finally got home I made one hell of a smoothie, gleefully iced for a good half hour, took a couple of codeine, and left this early plane, politely asking my face to knit itself back together.

Swelling was nice and uniform and non-terrifying until the 48-hour mark when my "jowls" puffed out and took on a chartreuse hue. Also my center lip was so high--I look like a sad, beat up rabbit. Here's where I started to contemplate taking a Klonopin. I knew the worst thing I could do was freak the heck out two days in. But I did a little meditation, ate some soup, and thought about something else--maybe it was a butterfly.

Over the next few days, the glue really irritated me (my nerves, not my face). I just wanted to see myself! Also I started getting really restless. I'm a pretty active person, and it is so hard to just be still, stay inside, and hide from the world! But I managed to stay put and leave the glue alone.

I've done what I could to improve the healing process on my own. I've tried to eat anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of protein. I started taking a bromelain supplement too along with my multivitamin. Bromelain is supposed to fight inflammation and speed healing. I also have an infrared light bulb, and I've been sitting with it for about five minutes twice a day. Once the glue came off (today!!!), I gooped as much Medihoney as I could on the incision. I've kept paper tape over it to keep it clean and protect it from sunlight. I can't say how much this has helped--if it has helped at all. But it makes me feel better to think I've done all that I can to support the healing process.

I don't scar too badly, but the incision looks great. Dr. Rodriguez did an excellent job of putting m'face back together. The skin is pink all along my nasal sill, but there's no real line or anything--that's what I was afraid of really.

I guess I was motivated to post today because the glue finally came off, and I got a good look at the whole kit and caboodle. Boy oh boy. It looks fabulous. I definitely experienced a few minutes of "where's my old face?" But I know I look so much more attractive. My smile is better, I look younger, my teeth show when I talk. And best of all....... I look so good in lipstick! I've probably owned 3 tubes in my whole life because it always looked so stupid on me. But now--wow. So pretty. I feel like a GIRL. I can't wait to go to Sephora! I might even catch a leprechaun so I can get the Kylie Jenner lip kit (kidding).

I feel lucky to have found my doctor. He is highly experienced with this procedure and doesn't touch the muscle. His credentials are so impressive. Plus, he's nice, understanding, and thorough.

As I said, I'm on day nine. I've still got some swelling and bruising in the very center of my lip, so I'm still kind of in bunnyland. Really looking forward to posting my final result.


TYPO: I meant to say 1.7 cm--not mm.

Day One

Day 13

Here's a side by side before and after. I'm still very red under my nose, so I blurred that out to get a better idea of the final result. All is well.

Close Up of Scar

I'm sorry the resolution isn't better. I'm working with an old phone and an old laptop. It's still really red, and stitches are popping through. I'm applying hydrocortisone cream, as my doctor recommended. I was holding off on that because I was hoping by letting the inflammation run its course, the stitches would go ahead and dissolve...but all that redness is making it so hard to cover with makeup (plus it's still a little lumpy).
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Rodriguez is highly skilled, thorough, kind, and understanding. I was nervous about having this procedure, and he totally put me at ease. He knows what looks pretty and natural. His staff is fantastic. I couldn't praise them enough. Every one of them made me feel comfortable and cared for. They went to great lengths to calm my nerves and give me the information and confidence I needed to go forward.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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