Lip lift is an in-office surgical procedure performed that is aimed to shorten the space between the nose and the top of the lip. This surgical procedure increases the amount of lip that is visible, making the lips look fuller and more pronounced. This lip lift plastic surgery, performed at our New York City office, can create the shape and fullness desired.
What Is a Lip Lift?
A lip lift also, known as upper lift shortening, is a surgical procedure in which a small piece of skin under the nose is removed resulting in an altered appearance of the upper lip and more visible upper teeth. There are many different types of lip lifts, and a discussion with your doctor on your desired look will help him or her decide which type is right for you. To fully grasp what a lip lift is, it is important to understand the anatomy of the lip.
Since ancient times, people have been searching for ways to enhance their lips. Ancient Egyptians, both men and women, routinely wore red lipstick made of gemstones, flowers and beeswax to augment their appearance. Over 2000 years later, technology and techniques have evolved and one of today’s most popular trends in lip enhancement is the lip lift.
What Is the Anatomy of the Lip?
When discussing any facial cosmetic surgical procedure, it is important to be familiar with the anatomy of the areas involved.
With respect to the lip lift, some important anatomical terms to understand include:
- Nasal base – the lowest part of the nose, where the nose attaches to the face
- Philtrum – the space between the nasal base and the most upper portion of the upper lip (vermillion border)
- Vermillion border – the line that separates the skin of the philtrum and the pink part of the upper lip
- Cupid’s bow – the double curved appearance of the central part of the upper lip, named after the shape of the bow of Cupid, the Roman god of love
- Dental show – the amount of upper teeth visible when smiling or with the mouth gently open
What Are the Different Variations of Lip Enhancements?
Like all facial features, lips are unique to each patient. The lip shape and fullness desired by one patient is not the same as what another patient may prefer. Dr. Linkov works closely with his patients to determine the best enhancements to create the look they envision, while balancing the lips with their other facial features.
He offers a few variations on lip enhancement procedures in New York City, including:
Each lip procedure is customized to ensure the results will match the patient’s facial structure while looking natural. Since lips are integral to speech and mouth movement, it is vital that they remain soft and flexible. Dr. Linkov uses his expert skill and advanced techniques on the lip procedures he completes. He is able to achieve the desired result while keeping the lips looking natural. Every lip procedure is done with discretion in mind, hiding the evidence of surgical alterations.
What Are the Goals of Lip Lift Surgery?
If you would like a change the appearance of your lips or smile, then a lip lift may be the right procedure for you. There are several different goals that can be achieved with a lip lift and it all depends on what your desires are. Some of the most common reasons people choose to get upper lip shortening are detailed below.
Enlarged upper lip
Many patients with a thin upper lip desire an enlargement of the upper lip in order to achieve a more balanced appearance of their mouth. Research studies suggest that the ideal ratio of upper to lower lip is 1:1.6, meaning the lower lip should be 1.6 times the size of the upper lip. This ratio may vary based on age, race, ethnicity, and personal preference, so it is important to discuss exactly what you are looking for with your doctor.
A long philtrum can result in less dental show, a disproportionate appearance of the face, and altered facial expression such that people may appear older or angrier than they actually are. Some research studies suggest that the ideal philtrum length is 11-13mm for females and 13-15mm for males. These measurements, however, are guidelines, and your ideal philtrum length should be measured in proportion to your other facial features. As an example, a person with a philtral length of 26mm should not be reduced down to 11mm, rather typically 8-11mm would be removed, leaving at least 15mm of philtrum.
Improved upper dental show
Many people have beautiful teeth, but due to their facial anatomy these teeth are not very visible when smiling. This can sometimes result in a less sensual or happy smile, and also make people seem older than their true age. As such, some people choose to get a lip lift to show more upper teeth and improve their smile.
Defined cupid’s bow
A defined cupid’s bow is a very delicate feature of the smile desired by many women. This look became popular in the 1920’s black-and-white film era, and has persisted through the test of time. By raising certain parts of the upper lip, a lip lift can result in a more prominent cupid’s bow and more feminine appearance of the face and smile.
Improved facial proportions
The lip and lower face do not exist in a vacuum, but instead are part of a bigger picture that needs to be taken into account. Keeping the lower face in balance with the rest of the face is the ultimate aesthetic goal.
What Are the Types of Upper Lip Lifts?
There are many different types of upper lip lift procedures. Some of these procedures are temporary and some of them are permanent. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, which are outlined below. After discussing with your doctor at plastic surgery center on what your goals and preferences are, he or she will determine which procedure is the best fit for you.
Temporary lip lift
Temporary lip lift procedures include:
- plasma lip lift
- thread lip lift
- botox lip flip
- lip filler
These procedures are temporary, meaning the results do not last forever and additional treatments are needed for sustained effect.
Plasma lip lift
Plasma lip lift refers to the use of a plasma pen to tighten the skin’s surface. Plasma is a type of gas, and the plasma pen creates an electrical discharge to release this gas onto the skin above the upper lip in a grid-like fashion. Pin-point burn marks initially appear on the skin, however over several weeks start to fade. During this time, the skin above the upper lip becomes tighter, therefore resulting in a somewhat raised appearance of the upper lip.
Thread lip lift
Thread lip lift is a type of procedure where dissolvable “threads” (also known as sutures or stitches) are inserted in various places around the upper lip. In a lip thread lift, the threads are tightened and tied such that the vermillion border is pulled up and as a result, the upper lip appears larger with more teeth show. Since the threads are dissolvable, they do not need to be removed at a later time.
Botox lip flip
Botox is an injectable medicine that causes muscles to weaken, resulting in decreased wrinkles when applied to areas of the face such as the forehead, glabella, and crow’s feet. In the botox lip flip, botox is injected in the upper lip, along the vermillion, which results in a relaxation of the upper lip. In doing so, the upper lip rolls upward or “flips”, creating a fuller appearance of the upper lip.
Lip filler is one of the most common lip procedures done today. Fillers involve the injection of a filling agent, typically hyaluronic acid, into the lips to increase the amount of volume in the lips. There are different kinds of lip filler, each with a different set of properties, but all with the same goal to create fuller, plumper lips.
The main permanent procedure is the lip lift surgery. The procedure involves non-reversible surgical removal of a piece of skin. There are various kinds of this type of plastic surgery, each with a different style. The main types of lip lift surgeries include:
The bullhorn lip lift surgery, also known as a subnasal lip lift, is a type of surgery where the incision made under the nose is in the shape of a bull’s horn, resulting in one clean line scar under the nose with upward lateral edges. A segment of skin is removed and the remaining skin is stitched back together and in doing so, results in a lifted upper lip.
The Italian lip lift surgery is a modification of the bullhorn lip lift. Instead of one incision made under the nose, it involves two smaller incisions in the same style as the bullhorn lip lift, with the incisions being made away from the center. Similar to the subnasal lip lift, small pieces of skin are removed under the two incisions and then the incision is closed, raising the upper lip.
The gullwing lip lift surgery involves one horizontal incision made directly above the vermillion border. It is called the gullwing lip lift because the incision is made in the shape of a gull flying with his wings spread out. A small piece of skin is removed directly above the lip, and the incision is closed, resulting in a heightened upper lip.
The corner lip lift surgery is also performed directly above the vermillion border. Incisions are made above each corner of the upper lip and two small pieces of skin are removed. Once the incision is closed, the corners of each lip are raised.
|Procedure||How long does it take?||How long is the recovery time?||How long do results last?||Price range in NYC?||What are the benefits / advantages?||What are the risks / disadvantages?|
|Plasma lip lift||45 – 60 minutes||1 – 8 weeks||6 months – 6 years||$400-1000||•Quick procedure
•Can be done by plastic surgeon or aesthetician
|•Pinpoint markings on the face not aesthetically pleasing
•Variable results based on person performing the procedure
•Risk of burning skin
|Thread lip lift||30 – 60 minutes||1 – 2 weeks||6 – 12 months||$800-2000||•Quick procedure
•Minimal recovery period
|•Need for repeated procedures to maintain results|
|Botox lip flip||10 minutes||1 day||2 – 4 months||$100-$400||•Quick procedure||•Need for repeated procedures to maintain results|
|Lip filler||30 minutes||3 days||6 – 9 months||$500-1100||•Quick procedure
•Minimal recovery period
•Reversal or dissolving agent available
|•Need for repeated procedures to maintain results
•Risk of “duck lips” apperance
|Bullhorn (subnasal) lip lift||1-2 hours||1 – 2 weeks||Lifelong||$3000-10000||•Incision hidden at base of nose
|Italian lip lift||1-2 hours||1 – 2 weeks||Lifelong||$3000-5000||•Limited incisions||•Poor Scarring
•Limited central lift
|Gullwing lip lift||1-2 hours||1 – 2 weeks||Lifelong||$3000-5000||•Precise lifting||•Poor scarring and visible
•Cupid’s bow distortion and loss of definition
|Corner lip lift||1-2 hours||1 – 2 weeks||Lifelong||$3000-7000||•Improved overall lip shape at the corners||•Poor scarring and visible
Are You a Good Candidate for a Lip Procedure?
Is a lip lift plastic surgery right for me? There are many reasons people choose to have a lip procedure performed. One of the main reasons is to improve the overall shape and fullness. Thin lips, due to genetics or aging, can be addressed through plastic surgery. Fat grafting and other procedures are used to augment the lips for a fuller, sexier appearance. If the length of the upper lip is too long, a lip lift can reduce the space between the nose and top lip for better balance. There are many different ways to improve the appearance of the lips, giving them an attractive shape and volume.
If you have noticed that your lips look thin, oversized or lack definition when you look in the mirror or see pictures of yourself, a lip procedure may be right for you. People of all ages undergo lip enhancements to give their mouth the desired shape and fullness. Young women seek to improve their lip shape and volume for a sexy appeal. Older women want to restore fullness and lift the corners of lips to a more youthful position. There are many different options available to give you the lips you have always wanted when you choose Dr. Linkov to perform your lip procedure.
If you are ready to explore options for improving your lips, choose the best facial plastic surgeon for your procedure. Dr. Gary Linkov offers stunning results for lip augmentations and enhancements. Check out the before and after picture gallery on our website to view results of some of his happy patients who have undergone lip procedures.
To schedule your lip consultation with Dr. Linkov, contact our office in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It is the first step you can take to finally achieving the shape and fullness you desire for your lips.
What to Select: Lip Lift vs Lip Filler?
Many people try to decide which among the two most popular lip procedures is “best” – lip lift or lip filler. Lip filler became very popular in the 2000s, and in 2018 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 2.8 million filler injections were performed. While lip filler is quite common, there are some disadvantages.
Lip filler is temporary, typically lasting 6-9 months. With repeated injections people may develop a projection of the upper lip (“duck lips”), decreased upper teeth show due to heaviness of filler with gravity pulling the lip down, and scarring of the lip resulting in lumps and bumps which can be permanent even if the filler is dissolved. For these reasons, lip lift is often a more desirable option for people who seek a more permanent and natural looking appearance.
Is It Possible to Combine Lip Lift Surgery and Rhinoplasty?
Some people desire both lip lift surgery and rhinoplasty. In most cases this procedures can be done at the same time. While the recovery period will be longer, combining the procedures prevents the need to come back for a second surgery. If rhinoplasty is done before lip lift surgery, you should wait at least 3 months before getting a lip lift.
Is It Possible to Combine Lip Lift and Facelift?
For those that desire procedures for the aging face, lip lift surgery and facelift can also be done at the same time. Performing lip lift surgery at the same time as a facelift can often result in an even more youthful appearance than a facelift alone. You should talk to your doctor to see if you would benefit from a combination of lip lift and facelift.
How Much Does a Lip Lift Cost?
The price of lip lift surgery will vary based on several factors. Location and expertise of the surgeon are two of the main factors that will determine how much a lip lift will cost. For example, in New York City, the cost of lip lift procedure ranges from $3000 to over $12,000. One important misconception is that the more expensive a surgery is, the better the result will be. This is not true and it is important to research your plastic surgeon prior to undergoing any surgery.
How to Prepare for Lip Lift?
Once you have decided to undergo lip lift, Dr. Linkov will discuss in detail how to prepare for your surgery. There are a few steps you should take before your lip lift in order to get the best results.
These steps include:
- Avoiding certain medications and supplements that may thin the blood, such as:
- NSAIDS – ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen
- Vitamin E
- Stop smoking, as tobacco products can decrease blood flow to the skin and compromise healing of the surgical site
- Pick up medications at pharmacy, as your doctor will likely prescribe you certain medications, such as:
- An antibiotic
- Pain medication
- An anti-inflammatory medication
- A sedative medication (optional)
- Identify an escort home, as you will need someone to accompany you home if you receive a sedative medication during your lip lift surgery.
What to Expect on the Day of the Surgery?
On the day of your surgery it is important not to eat or drink 2 hours before. You will take the prescribed medications in the office just prior to surgery. Surgical lip lift is performed under local anesthesia so pain will be minimal during your procedure.
Timing of the actual lip lift surgery varies, but it takes approximately 1-3 hours from the time you come into the office. Including time spent checking in to the doctors office, marking out the surgical sites, anesthesia injections, surgery and recovery, you should plan to be at your doctor’s office for at least 4 hours.
What Is the Recovery From Lip Lift?
Recovery after lip lift surgery varies from person to person. There is a short-term healing phase that occurs in the first few days to weeks after lip lift surgery, and a longer term healing phase that occurs in the weeks to months after surgery. How long you will spend in each phase depends on a variety of personal factors.
Short term healing phase
The short term healing phase occurs in the first few days to weeks after lip lift surgery. Common, anticipated aspects of healing in the short term phase include:
- Bruising – All patients will experience some degree of bruising. For some, the bruising is minimal, and for others it is more pronounced. Bruising typically improves in the first few days after surgery, but can last for up to 2 weeks.
- Redness – It is normal for there to be some redness around the surgical incision. Redness gradually improves, but can linger for up to 12 weeks.
- Swelling – All patients will experience some degree of swelling. The amount of swelling also varies from person to person. Swelling gradually improves in the first few weeks after surgery.
- Pain – There is usually some degree of pain in the first few days which gradually improves. Pain medications are given to help ease the discomfort.
There are several precautions you should take during the short term healing phase to ensure the best result and minimize scarring. Some of these precautions include:
- Avoiding makeup for the the first 10-12 days after surgery
- Avoiding smiling for 2 weeks
- Eat softer foods for 2 weeks
- Using antibiotic ointment then scar gel as advised by your doctor
- Avoid rigorous exercise for 1 week post operatively
- Limit all movements with the mouth for 2 weeks
- Attend your follow up appointment for suture removal at about 1 week postoperatively
Long term healing phase
The long term healing phase occurs in the weeks to months following your lip lift surgery. The amount of time each person will spend in the long term healing phase also varies on the individual’s personal health characteristics and the extent of the surgery that was performed. In general, you can expect to see final results with a mature scar about 1 year post-operatively. Your doctor will schedule you follow up appointments to monitor your progress.
What Are the Risks and Complications of Lip Lift?
As with any surgery risks due exist. The risks of a lip lift surgery include:
- Poor scarring
- Undesirable aesthetic result
- Changes to the nose
- Exaggerated central lip
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of cupid’s bow definition
- Dry upper red lip
What If Poor Scarring Develops After a Lip Lift?
There are several options for lip lift scar, including:
- Surgical revision
- Laser resurfacing
A surgical revision is often favored, assuming there is still room along the philtrum to remove more tissue. Since less tissue is removed during a revision compared to the original lip lift surgery in most cases, the area is under less tension which usually results in better healing and improved scar appearance. Dr. Linkov is an expert in revision lip lift surgery.
What Are the Contraindications for Lip Lift?
There are patients who should not have a lip lift, especially a permanent surgical type, these include patients with the following:
- Blood thinners that cannot be stopped
- Too short of a philtrum
- High risk of gum show at rest with mouth open
- Inability to close mouth at rest
- Connective tissue disorders (relative contraindication)
Are Patients Satisfied After Lip Lift?
According to the latest RealSelf poll in 2020, 92% of patients who had a surgical lip lift recommended the procedure. There are several reasons why patients are generally highly satisfied with their lip lift results, including:
- Restored facial proportions
- Improved confidence
- More attractive lips
- Permanent results
Who Is the Best Lip Lift Plastic Surgeon in NYC?
The best lip augmentation doctor is a doctor with whom you feel the most comfortable and confident. Your lip lift surgeon should be a doctor who is board-certified in facial plastic surgery. You and your lip lift surgeon should be in agreement with your surgical goals and desired appearance.
Dr. Gary Linkov is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Midtown, Manhattan. Dr. Linkov does many lip lift surgeries every week and has many international patients who fly from other countries for their surgery. Dr. Linkov is the only medical reviewer for the lip lift category on RealSelf, making him a leading expert in lip lift surgery. You can read reviews and view before and after photos from real patients who underwent lip lift with Dr. Linkov below:
Lip Lift Before and After
Lip Lift Case 1
An elelyft lip lift was used for this model to reduce the height of the philtrum, roll out the upper lip, and show more upper teeth. The incision is well hidden at the base of the nose and does not distort the nostrils. You can see her photos at 6 weeks postop and at 4 months postop, the incision gradually gets less noticeable.
Lip Lift Case 2
An elelyft lip lift was used for this beautiful woman to reduce the height of the philtrum, roll out the upper lip, and show more upper teeth. The incision is well hidden at the base of the nose and does not distort the nostrils.
Lip Lift Case 3
An elelyft lip lift was used for this amazing woman to reduce the height of the philtrum, roll out the upper lip, and show more upper teeth. The incision is well hidden at the base of the nose and does not distort the nostrils. Notice that before the procedure her bottom teeth can only be seen, after the procedure you can see the upper teeth quite nicely. Also note, that there is no impact on the smile, a common misconception.
Lip Lift Case 4
An elelyft lip lift was performed for this gracious and elegant woman to rejuvenate her upper lip and provide a refreshed look. Here she is at 6 weeks postop and 3 months postop loving her results.
Lip Lift Case 5
An elelyft lip lift was performed for this gracious and elegant woman to rejuvenate her upper lip and provide a refreshed look. Here she is at 6 weeks postop and 3 months postop loving her results.
Lip Lift Case 6
An elelyft lip lift was performed for this young woman. She felt that over time her philtrum was getting longer. She is in love with her 7 week result, as it puts her facial features in better proportion. The redness of the incision line will continue to fade over time.
Lip Lift Case 7
8 weeks status post elelyft lip lift. This beautiful woman had lip fillers for many years which left her upper lip scarred and with a permanent anterior projection. The elelyft was able to restore her to a more natural position.
Lip Lift Case 8
For this beautiful nurse injector who really wanted her lips to pop, I first dissolved her existing filler to reduce the duck lip appearance. Then an elelyft lip lift was performed to create a more beautiful, youthful lip complex. Here she is at 6 weeks.
Lip Lift Case 9
6 weeks and 4 months status post elelyft lip lift. This beautiful woman had lip fillers that she did not like. The elelyft was able to restore her to a more natural lip position.
Lip Lift Case 10
An elelyft lip lift was performed for this young woman. She felt that her philtrum was always long. She is in love with her 10 week result, as it puts her facial features in better proportion.
If you would like to explore lip lift options, contact our City Facial Plastics office to schedule a consultation. Dr. Linkov is a top-rated facial plastic surgeon in UES Manhattan, who can help you find the best procedure to obtain the look you desire to improve self-confidence in your appearance.
"Dr. Gary Linkov was amazing. He actually listens to what you want to do and does not just do what he wants to do. He really takes the time and pays attention to detail and make sure it is exactly what you wanted. It was a great experience!" - Jen Ryznar
New York NY 10022