What exactly is a lip lift?
The lip lift is a surgical technique that shortens the amount of skin that is on show between the nose and the upper lip. By doing so, you can also pull the upper lip outwards slightly which can create a more youthful appearance. When done by an experienced surgeon on the right patient, it’s a very subtle, but effective enhancement.
Why would you choose to have one?
The most common reason people book in for a lip lift is to achieve a fuller looking and more lifted upper lip. Those that have fillers regularly seem to be the most interested in the procedure as this is a permanent way to achieve a fuller looking upper lip so negates the need for regular injectables. It can also be cost-saving for the right patient who is getting it done for the right reasons. You’re also much more likely to get a more natural-looking result with a lip lift compared to injectables as the skin is pulled up rather than pushed out. It’s somewhat obvious, but important to point out that unlike injectables, this is a permanent treatment.
The second reason people choose to have a lip lift is as we get older our face can drop and thin-out, due to gravity and the ageing process, and our lips are not immune to this. A lip lift is a way to combat this and give a more youthful appearance.
What is the process like?
A lip lift can be done under local anaesthetic (unless the patient has real objection to this, in which case it can be done under general). The area to be removed will be drawn on the skin and we can pinch the area to show the effect. The marked up skin is then removed. The trickiest part of this operation stitching everything back together. We have to do this in layers so it looks natural and use certain techniques so it doesn’t pull on the nose.
The operation takes roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour and you’ll have stitches that will need to be removed after a week.
What’s the downtime like?
As it’s under local anaesthetic you can be out of the operating room and heading home almost as soon as the procedure is finished. Your stitches will get removed after a week. You might want to take 10 days to 2 weeks off work. Once the stitches are out, and the incision is looking closed, you can hide the scar with a concealer.
The main side effects seem to be mild scabbing and swelling as the incision settles down. Patients often recall it’s a bit like having a thick lip - a similar sensation after you’ve been to the dentist. Swelling is usually completely gone after 3 weeks. Some people do bruise, but it’s luck of the draw on that one. Again, it’ll usually disappear after a couple of weeks. I normally advise patients to drink from a straw for a couple of weeks post-surgery, but other than that, it’s a fairly straightforward procedure with minimal downtime/impact on everyday life during recovery.
How do I find the right surgeon?
The very first thing to check is whether they are on the plastic surgery specialist register on the General Medical Council (here). After that, make sure they’re experienced in facial surgery.
I can’t stress how important it is to go to a real plastic surgeon for this operation to ensure the stitches are done in the correct anatomical layers and to ensure the muscles are not disrupted. A good surgeon will also know how to cleverly hide the scar within the nostril and will be able to ensure harmony with the rest of your face. Finally, if not done correctly, this surgery can enhance the look of nasolabial folds, so finding the right experienced surgeon is absolutely key.
Are there any other considerations?
If you’re having major dental work then it’s best not to get this surgery. Additionally, if you’ve had fillers you might want to wait for them to wear off completely because it’s difficult to judge the proper result.
If you’re planning on having a rhinoplasty (nose job) any time soon too, that’s something to mention to your surgeon as you need to be careful if doing it in conjunction.
How much does it cost?
Costs typically start from £3000.