What is a Lip Lift?

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  • Written By: Douglas Bonderud
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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A lip lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure in which the upper lip is pulled up and away from the teeth. This is accomplished by making a small incision above the upper lip, and removing a strip of skin and tissue. The incision can be in the upper lip itself or just below the nose. When healed, the lip will appear fuller, as more of its underside will be visible.

This procedure is often sought by women who have a thin upper lip. It it also commonly performed on women who have a much longer upper lip than bottom lip, in order to achieve a balanced appearance. This procedure can be performed in a cosmetic surgeon's office with only local anesthetic, and usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes to complete.

Another common reason for a lip lift is age. As the facial bones age, they retract, causing the skin to hang more loosely. In addition, fat and soft tissues of the face will begin to lose their elasticity, further loosening the skin. This can cause the vermilion, or pink portion of the upper lip to become almost invisible. Sagging lips can also prevent the teeth from being seen when smiling.


A lip lift also attempts to restore what is known as Cupid's Bow, which is the v-shaped area in the middle of the upper lip. This often becomes more shallow as the face ages, and a lip lift attempts to restore its original depth and, thereby, a more youthful-looking mouth. This surgery is also used to bring the corners of the mouth up, eliminating the downward smile that can be characteristic of aging.

This procedure is different from a lip augmentation, in which a cosmetic filler, such as collagen, is injected into the lips to make them appear plump. A lip augmentation will wear off after a time, and the lips will once again begin to thin or droop. Lip lifts are a permanent surgical procedure, and can shorten the gap between the upper lip and the bottom of the nose.

Recovery from a lip lift is typically quick, with swelling occurring for only the first few days. Applying make up and other facial products can begin again one day after the surgery. Complications from this surgery are usually minor, but can include a separation of the incision or scarring which will detract from the intended look.


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Post 4

@ankara-- It won't look odd if it's not overdone and if you have fillers done on your bottom lips.

A lip lift will make the upper lip look bigger, but if the upper lip is the same size or larger than the lower lip, it will look odd.

I had a lip lift done for my thin upper lip. It looks much better now but I also had fillers injected into my lower lip at the same time so that my lips look balanced.

By the way, I do have a small scar from the procedure that I have to hide with concealer. I thought you might want to know that.

Post 3

@anon323834-- I'm sure it's possible, but I think it should be avoided unless there is some serious abnormality with the structure of the lips.

Most people prefer this procedure when they have aged and have a drooping upper lip that is too distant from the nose. My dad is a cosmetic surgeon and he hates doing lip lifts and prefers not to. He says that a lip lift procedure almost always looks unnatural. I'm sure that looking unnatural is not exactly what a sixteen year old would want. Plus, she will be stuck with this her whole life and might have to get future procedures to fix it. I think she should wait a long time before considering this procedure.

Post 2

I have an extremely thin upper lip and I want to make it fuller. Can a lip lift do this? Will look odd?

A lip lift sounds like a better option to fillers like the article said, since it only has to be done once. But I'm not sure if it's what I need. Has anyone here had a lip lift surgery for a thin upper lip?

Post 1

Is it possible for someone to undergo this surgery if she is only 16 years old?

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