The Skinny on Fuller Lips: Lip Lift

Lip AugmentationAlthough lip augmentation or filling is quite common these days, and can lend very beautiful results, there are times when a surgical procedure such as a lip lift can be more ideal.

As we age, the upper lip can lengthen quite significantly. This can be caused from collagen loss in the skin as well as loss of bony volume that provides support for the soft tissue. Lip lengthening over time can lead to a disharmonious relationship between the upper and lower lips. In many cases, because it is an often overlooked issue, inexperienced injectors can misdiagnose the problem as loss of volume in the lip and treat with fillers alone. Although this may help with the overall look of the lower third of the face, it is unlikely to really re-establish a more balanced look.

While a surgical option may sound drastic, a well performed lip lift is quite easy to recover from and can make a significant improvement. The procedure can be done under local anesthetic alone, or with sedation to make it more comfortable, and is generally complete within an hour. A small, curved incision is made just under the nose and a portion of skin removed – the incision does not extend into the mouth, so eating and drinking after surgery is not a problem. Absorbable sutures are placed to bring the tissues together and a few sutures on or just under the skin to obtain as thin a scar as possible. After a week or so, the majority of swelling and bruising resolves and the lip takes up a more balanced portion of the lower third of the face.

The biggest downside to this procedure is the fact that a scar must be made since skin is being removed. In most cases, however, the scar heals exceptionally well and is hidden nicely in the curves and shadows under the nose. If the scar is persistently red or raised, minor procedures can be done to minimize the scar even further to obtain the best possible result.

Although lip lifting is not as popular or easy as fillers, in some cases the patient’s anatomy calls for this to be done to help achieve a more youthful proportion between the upper and lower lips. If the area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your lip appears to be increasing with time, this may be an option for you. As always, make sure you are consulting with a surgeon well-versed in all your available options to allow you to make as educated a decision as possible. Our physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center can help guide your lip augmentation decision process to achieve the best result for you.

About Dr. Sethna

Anita Sethna, MDAnita Sethna, MD, understands that facial plastic and reconstructive surgery demand a marriage of science and artistry, and she enjoys using precision, skill, and vision to make her patients’ dreams reality. Dr. Sethna’s meticulous attention to detail and her passion for maintaining a natural look ensure optimum results for her patients. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Sethna is devoted to assisting residents in facial trauma or reconstructive cases at Grady Hospital. She relishes the opportunity to educate residents and medical students in all aspects of patient care. Dr. Sethna has a strong interest in several areas of facial plastic surgery research and has presented at national meetings on the importance of resident and fellow education in rhinoplasty techniques and adjunctive measures to decrease discomfort during cosmetic procedures.