Lip Lift at 58: Things Are Looking Up

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*Treatment results may vary

At least in a couple days they will! My lip lift...

At least in a couple days they will! My lip lift is scheduled for Friday.
I've been researching lip lifts since they first came on my radar about a year ago. Before that, I never imagined anything could be done about the distance between my nose and upper lip. I'm so grateful to others who have posted their experience with this procedure! So I'm posting mine in case it helps anyone else.

I used to have a "gummy" smile but my philtrum grew as I got older and now measures 19. So the "gummy" look is gone but replaced with significant real estate above my upper lip. I'll find out on surgery day how much skin can be removed to shorten my upper lip but not cause a return to "gummy."

I'll be traveling to Hermosa Beach, CA to get my lip lift with Dr. James Pearson. We had a phone consultation after I emailed him photos. He listened attentively to everything I said and answered my questions clearly. The lip lift before-and-after's on his website look natural and he has consistently great reviews. I was impressed enough to book my appointment soon after. I know I'm in good hands.

I'll also be getting dermabrasion at my lip lift appointment to treat the vertical lines around my mouth. Since I'm flying there anyway I want to make it count!

I'm posting before photos now and will update with more after my procedure. This has been almost a year in the making and I'm really excited! Less than two days away now...

Hermosa Beach and back in less than 24 hours

I got back a little while ago and the procedure went really well. I appreciate all the good wishes you ladies sent - I know they helped!! I didn't expect to feel so calm showing up for my appt, especially after our flight was delayed and the rental car process took so long. Barely had time to eat something before getting to Dr. Pearson's office though he assured me not to rush.

We talked about how much skin to excise. I was thinking 7mm since I measured myself at 19. He explained the optimal distance between nose and upper lip is half the distance between your lower lip and chin, and that 7mm for me fits in that range. We talked about skin elasticity and he said I have a bit more than usual for my age. (Score a point for the old lady) But importantly for me, he said a 7mm reduction would take about 4 months to return to normal and for that period of time it would look artificial. Well that is something I need to know. My fave results on this site are lip lifts that look natural after a few weeks (not months) so I opted for a 6mm reduction. He will do a free revision in 9 months if I decide I want more removed.

Also want to mention that his surgical suite overlooks the ocean and the view from the procedure chair is pretty amazing. He also had light classical music playing in the background so it was a very relaxing environment. He also stayed open late to accommodate my quick turnaround.

On to the main event...

So I decided against taking valium and instead he placed Q-tips with numbing gel underneath my upper lip. A few minutes later he did a "test" shot to check numbness and this continued till I was fully numb in the entire area. I took a quick look at the needle (unsettlingly long but very thin) and decided to just keep my eyes closed. For the record, I've had many, many dental shots in my life and none were given with as much skill as these. He is an expert.
Once the shots started taking effect I began to tremble. Like, a lot. This happens to me in varying degrees every time I get dental shots. He explained I'm the one-in-ten that reacts to the epinephrine in the lidocaine. (Hope I remembered that right) I never knew that - just assumed I was a quaking wimp. He checked my pulse just to be sure but it was all good. And the trembling, while it lasted, turned out to be the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. The rest was no big deal. I sometimes felt pressure or tugging but no pain. He put in 20 tiny stitches (black, so they are visible for easier removal) and I left with detailed instructions. He called me later to see how I was feeling and if I had any questions and will continue to check in. He also met me at his office at 6:30 this morning to clean the incision site and redress it before our early flight. I'm impressed by his level of care.

I did take a painkiller last night at bedtime and again in the wee hours of the morning. I wanted to sleep as well as possible. My pain level went from 2 to about 3 and that was the worst of it. And it wasn't pain as much as discomfort. Haven't taken anything in about 12 hours but may take Tylenol at bedtime.

Will try to post pics of the healing process.

Day two pics

Forgot to mention I decided not to get the dermabrasion. In the moment of decision it felt like too much to take care of and recover from. But I'm definitely interested in a face/neck lift in the future. I think the combination would make my face/neck look about the same age. I don't want to look mismatched!

More pictures

My timeline is a little off in the heading but these pictures were taken two days after my procedure.

3rd day after lip lift

Am keeping the incision clean (with hydrogen peroxide and a Q-tip) and covered with bacitracin. Swelling may be a tiny bit less today. Upper lip feels more mobile and eating is comfortable. I feel like I turned a corner this afternoon and am not as aware of the stitches or stiff upper lip as before. Yay!

Day 7 after lip lift

Bruising is almost gone and swelling is down, except for my nose. Stitches will be coming out soon. I'm noticing my mouth looks more like it did when I was young. Not a huge difference from before the surgery but I wanted a result more subtle than obvious. I feel my face is more balanced and I'm happy about that.

Day 11 and a few details

Stitches were finally removed yesterday. I was expecting some discomfort but it was a total non-event. I should mention again that I had the lip lift done by a doctor out of state so had to coordinate with a local doctor in getting stitches removed. Three days later than expected as it turned out. But Dr. Pearson is in almost daily contact with me to keep my healing on track. I'm really pleased with the level of care I've gotten, even long distance.
My incision line is covered with steri-tape that will come off on Saturday. Perfect timing since I'll be going out to dinner with a good friend who doesn't know about the lip lift. If it's not obvious to her it won't be to anyone else...
I also wanted to mention how very dry my lips have been since the lift. And it makes sense - I have more vermillion showing now and it's exposed to air. Living in the high desert with super low humidity made it worse and my usual chapstick just wasn't cutting it. I switched to Aquaphor a couple days ago and that stuff is amazing! The dry patches are gone and my lips feel smooth again. Ahhh, relief...
Something else that added to the dryness was sleeping with my mouth partly open. (Pretty, right? lol!) I didn't want to stretch the sutures and for the first week or so my mouth (in a fully relaxed state) didn't quite close all the way. I knew it was part of the process but am glad to be past that now. Also, I normally wear a mouth guard and while I didn't the first few nights, when I did it wasn't uncomfortable at all.
Here's a few pictures with the first lipstick I've had on for almost two weeks. Will post again after steri-strips are off.


Not much change in the last couple days. My upper lip still has tightness but much less than before. My mouth doesn't hang open when relaxed like it did at first, so I'd say the swelling is mostly gone.
It felt great to be out and about yesterday since I've been hibernating at home for two weeks. I'm ready to get back to normal! Tomorrow is the last day for steri-strips. Then I can begin gentle scar massage and also wear makeup. The incision line is healing well but it still looks very pink at the edges, like I have a bad cold. Am hoping makeup will cover it. I'll find out soon.
Here's some pictures, including some profiles for Simplybetter. Thanks for all of your comments, ladies! I appreciate your kindness. :-)

Incision line photos

At last I can play with makeup to hide the scar. Someone (sorry, don't remember who) commented on another lip lift review to mix aquaphor with concealer and apply it with a brush. Thanks for that tip, whoever you are! It worked pretty well. I followed it with foundation dabbed on with a sponge, followed by a bit of powder. Then later that day had dinner with a good friend who didn't know about the lip lift. She said I looked good but didn't notice anything specific. Just the reaction I was hoping for! I wanted to gauge how natural it appears.

I think it's more noticeable to me than anyone else. My philtrum isn't short but it also isn't long and suits my face. Kudos to Dr. Pearson for his expert guidance in helping me decide how much to remove. I'm so happy with my result. At this point I can't imagine wanting more mm's off but he will do a revision later if I want one, at no charge. I really can't say enough good things about him.

I'll try to follow up these incision line pics with how they look with makeup.

Incision line makeup

In the last update I mentioned using Aquaphor, concealer, foundation and powder to hide the scar. I'm no expert but after messing around with it a while I was satisfied with the cover up. I didn't get any weird stares, anyway!
You may notice my dry lips in these pics. Aquaphor is effective but you have to actually apply it for it to work. ;-)

3 week photos

4 week photos and test results

One of my main concerns about getting a lip lift was having it look unnatural. So this weekend I put it to the test again when I met separately with my cousin and a friend. We sat across from each other, eating and talking. Happy to report my makeup-concealed scar was not noticed or any comments made about looking different. Exactly what I'd hoped for! I'm conscious of the change when I look in the mirror but am glad it's not obvious to anyone else.
At this point the scar hides very well with makeup though there is bumpiness I can feel. It's not visible in photos or in person either, apparently. Still happy with the result after one month.

6 week photos

After 6 weeks the numbness under my nose is wearing off and the sensation is getting close to normal. The scar feels very firm and I continue to massage it daily. I still have bumpiness and started using RX Scar Guard. The intense nail polish smell of this stuff painted right under my nose is super stinky but fortunately fades quickly. I understand it's not as effective on the face but figure it couldn't hurt to try.
Last week at the dentist I had my front two teeth shortened. The cost was reasonable and it only took 10 minutes. The difference is subtle and my husband didn't notice until I told him! I like my smile better now and still have enough tooth show to suit me. Just less of a bunny look.
Will try to post photos every few weeks if life doesn't get in the way!

Side by side before & after photo

It's been 10 weeks since my lip lift. The bumpiness is still there but fortunately isn't noticeable to anyone else. I've started to get more aggressive with scar massage (and more diligent) so I'm hopeful the bumpiness will smooth out over time.
I want to mention again for anyone considering this procedure not to get hung up on a certain number of mm's to remove. It's totally individual. My 6mm reduction is modest by RealSelf standards yet I feel the result suits my face shape and my age. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation. So choose a great surgeon who does many lip lifts, asks you questions and really listens to your answers. Enough said. :-)
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

I researched for several months before deciding to see Dr. Pearson for my lip lift. I emailed him photos and after our phone consultation I knew he was the right surgeon for my procedure. The combination of before-and-after pictures on his website, patient reviews, and his compassionate attentiveness on the phone convinced me. It meant a 2-hr flight from where I live but I felt confident I would get a good result. Instead I got a great result! It's been almost three weeks since my surgery and I couldn't be happier. He took the time to carefully assess what degree of skin reduction would suit my face and my expectation and offered a revision at no charge if I wasn't satisfied. My whole experience was positive from the consult to the after care. Dr. Pearson continues to check in to make sure I'm healing properly. I didn't expect this level of long distance care and it's reassuring to know he cares as much as I do about my result.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 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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