Lip lifts (Subnasal lift)

Not everybody is born with luscious, full lips. As a result, young women can sometimes have very thin lips, particularly the upper lip. In more mature ladies, the aging changes affecting the face frequently do not spare the lips. The upper lip becomes increasingly inverted into the mouth with less and less of the youthful pink portion showing. While for some patients who still have some pink lip showing, fillers can enhance the lip, in other cases, fillers offer little to no improvement.

A lip lift, also called a subnasal lift is minor surgical procedure that can reveal the pink portion of the upper lip with its curvy contour, whether in younger women who, for genetic reasons do not have a full lip, or in ladies who once had it but lost the volume. The thin or nearly absent upper lip turns into full-volume, feminine lip without the use of temporary fillers.

A lip lift consists of removing a strip of skin from between the nose and upper lip to then lift and expose the pink portion of the lip where lipstick is applied. The procedure lasts approximately 30 minutes and is usually performed under local anesthesia with or without a mild sedative, depending on the patient’s preference. The sutures are removed after 5 days and the scar is concealed under the nostrils and in the creases between the nostrils and the face and is usually imperceptible. There is no pain or bruising, though the upper lip may feel and look swollen for 3-5 days. This swelling abates in less than a week to reveal a fuller, more feminine upper lip that appears natural, with its desirable curvature.

Filler injections, usually performed in the office, are effective for most patients looking to enhance their lip volume, but as mentioned above, fillers do not work on everyone. They are ideal for people who are not candidates for a lip lift due to a short distance between their nose and lip, where skin would be removed in a lip lift. Fillers are also better suited for those who have good exposure of the upper lip but are looking for slightly more volume.

Some patients’ goal is not necessarily an increase in the volume of the upper lip but they rather seek to shorten the distance between the nose and mouth. When this distance is too long, it can be disruptive to facial esthetic harmony. A lip lift can serve to shorten this distance with or without significant exposure of the pink lip. This can restore harmony to the vertical proportions of the middle and lower face.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there postoperative restrictions after lip lift treatments?
Anything that requires straining, such as vigorous exercise or heavy lifting, is strongly discouraged for one week after a lip. Heavy chewing is also not advised until swelling has subsided.

What is the recovery time of a subnasal lift?
A period of approximately 5-7 days is needed for the swelling to subside and for the lip to take a normal, natural shape. On the fifth day, the sutures are removed, the lip assumes its natural position and patients can then return to their normal routine.

Can you smile, eat and talk after a lip lift?
Smiling, eating, talking and even frowning are unaffected by lip lifts, though the lips may be a bit stiffer than normal due to swelling. Speaking, eating and facial expressions will all be affected by the swelling. Fortunately, this is short-lived and return to normal by the 5th day.

Does a lip lift leave a scar or bruising?
Scars from subnasal lifts are concealed in the natural creases beneath and inside the nostrils. Initially, makeup may be required to fully hide the marks, but, with time, the scarring will fade to a very thin, almost invisible line that can’t easily be seen without careful inspection. Subnasal lifts almost never cause bruising.

Is a subnasal lift permanent?
A lip lift is permanent. It rarely, even many years later, requires a second procedure.

Contact Dr. Samaha for more information on lip lift surgery.