How to get the best Upper lip lift results

We get quite a lot of questions regarding lip lifts, so here’s a quick video of me talking about what techniques I consider to be the key for getting the most successful Lip lift.

The goal of the upper lip lift procedure is to raise the upper lip to a more youthful position. As with most plastic surgery procedures, there are many ways of doing the lip lift. I find that the secret to a successful lip lift is really simple: Keep things simple!

This is most easily achieved by performing the sub-nasal, or a type of bull horn technique. This technique shortens the distance between the base of the nose and the top of the upper lip, with no scars on the lip line. Here is my best guidance about this procedure.

Take out only skin, not muscle

My Lip lift technique involves lifting the skin only. I do not involve the muscle because it introduces unnecessary risk and complications. I excise only a small portion of skin which reduces the length of the space between your upper lip and the base of your nose. If you’d like to learn more about why I lift skin only during Lip lifts, I explain in great detail in this blog post.

Use strong points of fixation

This is really the keystone of my Lip lift procedure. The lip is a very mobile structure, therefore you want to anchor it to something solid. For best results, the skin of the upper lip is anchored to the septum cartilage.

Be conservative with skin removal

For the amount of skin excised, be conservative with this procedure. In other words, it’s better for the surgeon to err on the side of ‘not taking quite enough (skin),’ rather than on the side of ‘too much.’ This type of strategy always results in giving you an improved appearance. It is very easy to come back and take a bit extra, but you certainly can’t ever replace the skin that has been taken out.

Wondering if a Lip lift is right for you?

If you feel like your upper lip covers your teeth too much and you'd like your upper lip to look fuller, contact Us to schedule your in-office or virtual consultation for just $30 (which gets applied to your surgery when you book). Or just give us a call at 410-494-8100! Note: Virtual consults can also be used to get second opinions.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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19 thoughts on “How to get the best Upper lip lift results”

  • Doris says:

    This is great information! I'm wondering, though, can a lifted lip still also be augmented with a fat transfer, too?
  • david sandy says:

    This is random but I've lost quite a bit of weight so I'm thinking about appearance more. I've got 50 or so pounds to go. (-180) I've noticed alot of people's faces change alot with weight loss. My lips at rest extend significantly past the teeth. Will this change with weight loss? Or is a lip lift something to look into now? Currently the only way to get my teeth to show in a smile involves stretching everything back and doing a semi-demented circus clown thing.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      David: The lip can lengthen with loss of volume, and with aging. You should really consider a lip lift, no need to feel semi-demented! You should contact Kelly at for more info. I will let her know about you.
  • Emma says:

    Hello, Dr. Rodriguez: What is "whelp"? Can you do a Lip Lift for an Invisalign user? Remove them before the procedure, and then wear afterwards? "A long run for a short slide" was what you wrote about the Italian Lip Lift back in October 2009 which I just found. You said that you pass on the technique because the results would look "funny" when viewed from the side. A deeper philtrum through the lip lift makes sense to me, and the results are impressive. That about covers it for me. Thank you so much, Doc! :D
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Emma: Yes, you can do a lip lift on a patient who is an invisalign user. I will let Kelly at know of your interest.
  • Emma says:

    Dr. Rodriguez, About the Upper Lip Lift: How long do the results last? Do you do the Italian Lip Lift? And for those who desire a deeper philtrum, can you also do that before adding the Lip Lift? Thank you! :)
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Emma: Results from a lip lift are permanent, although of course the face keeps aging.Sometimes I see whelp goes down 1-2 millimeters after several years, but more than that would be a technical issue such as broken sutures and noticed soon after surgery. I do not know what the "Italian Lip lift is". Beware of "scarless" techniques. The deeper philtrum can be partially achieved by centralizing the lip. That is achieved by closing the incision by advancing the lip skin medially as you close. This causes a build up of tissue medially giving more prominence to the Philtrum columns. Look at some of our results here.
  • Emma says:

    Hello, Dr. Rodriguez: Thank you for clarifying these procedures. One more thing: Is it true that ABR can leave scars?
  • Emma says:

    Hello, Dr. Rodriguez: For rhinoplasty, do you do ALAR BASE REDUCTION as well? Also, can I have Upper Lip Lift and Rhinoplasty done together? Thank you, Sir. Emma
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Emma: We do not do upper lip lift together with rhinoplasty together as too many of the landmarks (alar base, upper lip margin with nose, etc.) are being messed with at the same time. In addition there are issues of possible blood supply to the tip of the nose. I suggest doing either one first, let it heal for 2-3 months, then do the other. We do rhinoplasty with alar base reduction. Here's Kelly's email address
  • M says:

    Hi Dr. Rodriguez, I've wanted to have this procedure done for a while now. I'm in PA and I want to come down for an in-person consultation. Anyways, I'm African-American and I'd like to have a lip lift, not for a fuller top lip but because my philtrum is too long. But I also have too much fat in that area as well. I know you can't tell much without seeing a photo, but do you think an upper lip lift would push the fat in this area down into the upper lip causing it to become too large? If so would I need to have a lip reduction after the lip lift? Or instead, would you remove the excess fat from the philtrum and then do the lip lift after? And is it possible to make the two philtrum lines more defined and bring them closer together at the base of the nose so they're not so wide apart? Have you had a patient with a similar issue before? And in general is the scaring more visible on ethnic skin? Thank you for your time.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      M: These are a lot of questions and there are many answers depending on what I see. I really recommend a virtual consult so I can see you at least on the screen and resolve these questions one by one. I will give Kelly your email address so she can give you more info. Thanks for contacting us!
  • Des says:

    I had upper jaw surgery 8 yrs ago and it ruined my face. I no longer have any balance or upper lip support - my lower face just hangs like it's not attached. My philtrum is 1.9. Would a lip lift restore the balance and provide support. Thanks
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Des: First of all, sorry for the delay in answering. As for the lip length, it can be shortened and it WILL restore some of the balance of the lower face. Not having pictures of you I cannot judge how much, but if you say your whole lower face hangs, it is unlikely that just fixing the lip will "fix" the whole thing. Having said that, the lip is a central thing and focus point on the face so it does carry a disproportionate visual impact. If you are interested, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg so we can set you up for a virtual consult. We'd love to hear from you!
  • Alice says:

    I think its just the right blog! I too have a very thin upper lip. I didn't consult a cosmetic surgeon because I heard a lot of unsuccessful stories. The picture shown above is a really good change. I'm getting inspired! Thanks again!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Alice: Thanks for the support! Be careful with who you do the surgery. It is not very common and unfortunately you hear many stories because there are many stories. The procedure is very technique dependent and not many people are doing it right.
  • Scott says:

    I went to a 3x board certified surgeon for mostly a corner lip lift and he was persistent on permalip implant and I wasn't told I was having a gullwing lip lift. 5 weeks later and now I have no cupid's bow. I'm a man. I'm not looking for Angelina Jolie lips... NOW I realize that I should've had the bullhorn lift (under the nose) with corner of the mouth combo. Every plastic surgeon should have computer imaging and work WITH the patient and not make decisions on their own. Is there anything I can do?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      What is a 3x board certified surgeon? Three different specialties? In any case, In the future your best bet is to ask the surgeon how he's going to do the procedure, where the scars are going to be, etc. As for what can be done now, there's not much I can say without seeing you or pictures of your lip, but restoring the normal lip "White roll" which is the transition zone between the skin and the lip mucosa will be really tough.