The Lip lift: More youthful lips without the use of fillers

A collage of photos of a patient's mouth, showing her lips before and after a lip lift procedure.

Yesterday I did a Lip lift. My patient was a young woman, which is unusual for this procedure. Most women that need a lip lift are older, and they have noticed the upper lip getting “thinner” as they age. Since the “red” part of the lip is getting thinner, they assume this is the part that needs to be augmented.

So when a woman comes to me for lip enhancement, most of the time she is thinking about Lip fillers, whether it be fat, collagen, restylane or one of the many other fillers available nowadays. With lip fillers, the trouble comes when the surgeon “fills out” the lips, and the patient looks like she is pouting, or like she has “duck lips”. Why does this happen?

With a Lip lift there is no ‘filling’ – and no possibility of duck lips

– Dr Rodriguez

As the face ages, and the skin follows gravity, the upper lip is dragged down and actually elongates. Since the red part of the lip is attached to the gums, the skin of the lip “rolls over” the red part, so the red part appears to “shrink”. Since the lip is already long, when you add more bulk to the red part, it starts to bump into the lower lip and gets “pushed out”. Thus the pouty look or “duck lips”.

With a Lip lift there is no ‘filling’ – no possibility of duck lips. The Lip lift works by taking a strip of skin from the part of the lip close to the nose and hiding the scar in the line of separation between nose and lip. This scar is very well disguised, similar to the Facelift scar in front of the ear, as the surgical incision is between two different anatomic structures.

In many cases, the Lip lift result is superior to lip fillers because the lip contour does actually look younger, rather than just “fatter”. With the Lip lift, the lip has a more natural relation to the lower lip. What about my Lip lift patient from yesterday? She had tried alloderm and goretex (both lip fillers) without success. The fillers did not give her the youthful look that she desired. She said when she “pulled her lip up” it looked like she wanted it to look. Thus, she was a perfect candidate for the Lip lift procedure.

After the Lip lift she looked great, and the scar will be very well disguised. The Lip lift is a great procedure!

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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