Dr. Patti Flint

Luscious Lips in Less Than an Hour

Luscious Lips in Less Than an Hour

Ever noticed how lips on younger faces seem plumper and shapelier than lips that have been around for a bit longer? It’s another one of the inevitable effects of aging. While many have heard of “lip injections” which have been very effective for many of my patients, there is another option that yields more beautiful, natural-looking results.

Lip lift surgery is a little procedure I have gotten very excited about lately. Part of the reason for my excitement— is because I have seen so many lip augmentations performed by other doctors and some non doctors that frankly just look plain awful…I think you know what I am talking about. Overdone, unnatural, “duck-like,” or maybe just a bit “off” in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. Regardless, it’s not something you would want for yourself. Much of that is the fault of the provider, and sometimes it’s also because it was the wrong solution for the problem.

Why a Lip Lift?

Our concepts of beauty involve tiny details many of us aren’t necessarily aware of. For example, when it comes to a woman’s lips and mouth, “attractiveness” is achieved when a certain portion of her front teeth are visible when her mouth is at rest and during certain facial expressions. Aging skews these aesthetics, creating a lengthening of the upper lip as well as a shift where the upper lip turns in towards the teeth. This makes the lip appear thinner with less of the pink portion (called vermillion) showing. If you try to solve this problem with a lip augmentation, you won’t get the desired result. Plumping up a feature that isn’t always attractive and only draws attention—and not in a good way.

My professional recommendation for many of my patients is to correct the imbalance with a lip lift. This minor surgical procedure shortens the upper lip and “rolls it out.” With a small incision right under the nose in an area called the philtrum, a tiny piece of skin is removed. This effectively shortens and “lifts” the top lip, exposing more vermillion and emphasizing the “cupid’s bow.” Tiny sutures carefully placed result in a barely visible scar. Because the surgery is so minor, it can be done in my office with local anesthesia in less than an hour— in fact, many patients find that it is easier and more pleasant than a visit to the dentist.

Some of the things I love about lip lift surgery are:

● It makes lips look more pronounced by increasing the amount of pink tissue visible when lips are resting

● It can create a more defined “cupid’s bow” than fillers alone

● More natural-looking results than lip augmentation

● It is a more permanent solution, whereas filler results eventually fade

● It involves a relatively quick in-office procedure using local anesthesia

● Risk of complications is low

● If augmentation is desired later on, it provides a better canvas for fillers

Lip Lift Plus Lip Augmentation

Having a board-certified plastic surgeon with an understanding of appropriate lip dimensions and measurements sculpting your face—is the only way to go. Once lip position is restored and any residual swelling has resolved, we can make a decision about using HLA fillers for lip augmentation. Should you want a little more volume, we can inject an appropriate amount of filler to plump up your upper lip and smooth out vertical lines. I inject all of my fillers personally because I am passionate about results. The filler I choose will depend on your desired results, Juvederm Volbella for subtle enhancement or Juvederm Ultra for more dramatic results. The combination of a lip lift and conservative lip augmentation with fillers often creates stunning results. Maybe that’s another reason why I love this procedure!

How do you know if you are a candidate for a lip lift?
The best way to know is to come in for a consultation. Most people whose lips have thinned with aging will be well served by a lip lift.
If the space between your nose and upper lip is less than 1.5 centimeters, you might not be a good candidate. Also, if you smoke, you need to be prepared to stop at least two weeks before the procedure and continue to avoid smoking until after the healing process is complete.

If you feel like age-related changes in your lips are taking away from your appearance, let’s take a look at the subtle things that can be done to restore your natural beauty. Sometimes a “little” goes a long way.

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