Lip Lift

A lip lift is a plastic surgery procedure that reduces the space between the nose and upper lip. It is generally done to elevate the upper lip to show more of the pink tissue of the lip, making it appear fuller and larger.
Dr. Cat Begovic is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California. She is a three-time winner of Best of Beverly Hills Award in the cosmetic surgeons category.

What Is a Lip Lift?

The patch of skin between the nose and the top of the lip is called the philtrum. A lip lift removes some of this skin area, bringing the lip up to reveal more of the tissue of the upper lip. If you place your finger in this space and pull just a bit, you can see how this procedure shows more of the upper lip.

Patients seek a lip lift for aesthetic reasons. These can include the desire for fuller lips, to create a more prominent lip line, and reduce the fine lines of the upper lip. While lip injections and fillers can provide temporary fuller lips, a lip lift is a permanent change to a patient’s appearance that does not require frequent upkeep.

As we age, skin becomes more lax and bone loss can cause the lips to roll inward, giving the appearance of thinner lips. A lip lift can help minimize these effects of aging in a way facial procedures like a facelift don’t address. A lip lift can also be beneficial if a patient feels like there is too much of a space between the upper lip and the nose or they want more “pout” to their upper lip.

What You Should Know Before Your Lip Lift

The first step before scheduling a lip lift is the consultation. My office offers in-person consultations at my Beverly Hills office and also virtually with photos if you are from out of town. During the consultation, you’ll be asked questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of your medical history. This is important since you will be placed under general anesthesia for the procedure. After we have discussed your medical history, the procedure, and your aesthetic goals, I will create a customized lip lift procedure plan that’s based on your anatomy and the look you want to achieve.

I evaluate each patient to understand your goals and take into consideration factors such as overall health, mental health, age, and anatomy, to determine whether a patient is a candidate for lip lift surgery. Since each patient has a different facial structure and anatomy, it’s important to take into consideration the balance of the face and ways to can create a more harmonious look for the patient.

For instance, there needs to be enough space between the upper lip and the nose to allow a lip lift to show a difference. In my evaluation, I am always honest and transparent about what can and cannot be achieved with any procedure. If I don’t think you are a candidate for a lip lift, there are alternatives such as lip injections and fillers I can suggest to help you achieve the look you envision for yourself.

Prior to your surgery date, you will be asked to see your primary care doctor for medical clearance. Even though a lip lift is a very quick procedure, safety is always the number one priority, so it is always better to be safe and have your doctor run diagnostic testing, including blood panels and a physical exam. This clearance means you are healthy for general anesthesia and reduces the risk of complications from the anesthesia.

What Happens During a Lip Lift in Beverly Hills

All lip lift procedures are essentially reducing the amount of skin space between the lip and the nose. However, there are several different types of lip lift surgeries. At your consultation, I will explain the different types of lip lifts and show you which is best for you based on your facial dimensions and the look you want to achieve.

Direct Lip Lift

You may see this referred to as a gullwing lip lift because of its shape. A direct lip lift creates a fuller lip and more defined lip border.

Subnasal Bullhorn

The subnasal bullhorn lip lift is one of the most popular lip procedures. The bullhorn refers to the shape of the incision around the bottom of the nose.

Central Lip Lift

The goal of the central lip lift is to shorten the space between the nose and the upper lip.

Corner Lip Lift

A corner lip lift pulls up the corners of the upper lip to correct drooping and create a more smiley facial expression. This can be coupled with another type of lip lift to minimize the space between the lip and the nose.

Italian Lip Lift

An Italian lip lift is a less pronounced version of the bullhorn lip lift.

What Kind of Anesthesia Is Used?

Here at my Beverly Hills office, I offer both general and local anesthesia. General anesthesia provides optimal comfort and convenience. Since some lip lifts are very minimal procedures, they may be able to be performed with just local anesthesia. At your consultation, I will determine which type of anesthesia is best for your surgery needs.

The Surgical Procedure

During your lip lift, I make discrete, small incisions to give your specific facial dimensions better harmony and balance while enhancing the look of your lips. My focus is to create a natural-looking result that flatters your personal appearance.

The lip lift surgical procedure will differ based on the specific lip lift you’re receiving. In a direct lip lift or gullwing lip lift, I will remove a thin strip of skin above the upper lip and pull the skin upward to reveal more of the pink vermillion parts of the upper lip. For a subnasal bullhorn lip lift, the incision can be hidden around the base of the nose so any incision scar is less visible. I trace the shape of the bottom of the nose and lift the skin up to the nose. A central lip lift also has an incision under the nose, but here it is a single “central” incision.

In a corner lip lift, I make two small incisions at the corners of the upper lip, removing a small amount of skin and pulling the skin upward. Finally, for an Italian lip lift, a very small incision is made under each nostril.

How long does a Lip Lift last?

A lip lift procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that typically takes around an hour to complete. This makes it one of the shortest procedure times and for some lip lifts that only require a minimal amount of lifting, IV sedation might not be required.

Lip Lift Recovery and Results: What to Expect

Lip lift recovery usually takes around six to eight weeks. Immediately after surgery, you can expect some swelling, which should lessen greater over the following two weeks. Softer foods and liquid meals are recommended during these first two weeks. You should also limit your activity during this time and avoid strenuous activity after lip lift surgery. Your sutures will be removed after five days. In the two to four months after the surgery, you might notice a tight feeling around your lip area as your body heals and adjusts to the change.

Does a Lip Lift Leave Scars?

I am extremely meticulous during lip lift surgery to minimize scarring and make incisions in the least noticeable locations. I focus on making incisions under the base of the nose, where scars can be hidden. Scars take a full 12 months to completely fade. I’ve developed a special incision closure technique that results in a thin, nearly invisible scar once the patient is fully healed.

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About Dr. Cat

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Cat Begovic is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. She graduated from Harvard University with Honors in Molecular and Cellular biology. From there she was awarded her medical degree at UCLA, where she also finished two surgical residencies. Dr. Cat has been in private practice since June 2010.

Dr. Cat’s passion for plastic surgery and for women’s transformation, her meticulous attention to detail, and her unique skills have positioned her as a leader in the field of cosmetic surgery.

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