Surgical Lip Enhancements: Lip Lift and Lip Implants
Lip enhancement procedures can add fullness to thin lips, reduce a long upper lip, and decrease wrinkles around the mouth to improve the appearance of your lips. As we age, lips can lose volume like many other areas in the face, causing less projection and red lip visibility. The skin of the lip area may lose elasticity and descend over time changing the contour and length of the upper lip area. Some patients are bothered by an excessive vertical length to the upper lip that may have occurred over time with age or has always been present. A long upper lip can limit the amount of teeth that show with a relaxed mouth opening and smiling. There are different surgical and nonsurgical options to improve the volume in the lip, excessive wrinkling, and a long upper lip.
Expected results after surgical lip enhancement can include:
- More definition to the cupid’s bow and vermillion border
- Smooth upper and lower lip skin
- Slight upturn at the oral commissures
- Increased lip fullness and volume
- Decrease show of the teeth with a relaxed mouth
- Decreased space between the nose and the upper lip
Treating unwanted Lip Lines without fillers and implants
Although enhancing lip volume with lip fillers or lip implants can significantly improve unwanted lip lines, sometimes patient’s do not desire the added volume. Significant vertical lip lines, often acquired with aging can be treated with deep chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing. Laser resurfacing around the mouth or a deep chemical peel can significantly soften the wrinkles or what are dubbed as “smokers” lines around the lips. To make significant change in the deep lines around the mouth, aggressive resurfacing needs to be performed to effectively tighten the skin and smooth the etched in lines. Either fractionated or traditional CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers can be used for deep resurfacing. The downtime from chemical peels as well as laser procedures is around 7-10 days. Laser resurfacing and deep chemical peels can easily be performed in the office with topical and local anesthesia.
Good Candidates for Surgical Lip Lift
- Have elongated upper lip skin (typically > 1.8 cm)
- Have lips that have become shapeless, sagging, and inverted
- Have naturally thin lips that are nearly invisible, imparting an angry expression
- Visible red lip is very limited
- Limited teeth show with smiling or relaxed expression
Lip Lift or “lip flip” Surgical Technique
Two of the most common lip lift techniques vary based on incision location placement.
Lip lifts were traditionally performed by placing the incision along the vermillion border of the lip, which is the junction between the red and white lip, also known as the lip roll. Skin is removed above this incision and the lip is effectively elevated in the vertical direction as the incision is meticulously closed. This older technique has fallen out of favor, since it can leave a visible scar in some patients.
The preferred lip lift technique of The Naderi Center is the subnasal lip lift, which places the incision at the base of the nose. The procedure is easily performed in the office with numbing injections.
STEPS TO PERFORMING A LIP LIFT
- STEP 1: An incision is made at the base of the nose at the junction of the nose and lip.
- STEP 2: The skin and soft tissue are excised.
- STEP 3: A few deep stitches are placed to lift the lip upward.
- STEP 4: The skin and soft tissue are then meticulously closed in multiple layers to minimize the appearance of the scar.
- STEP 5: The fine stitches placed in the skin are removed around five days after the procedure. The scar is well hidden, and can be difficult to detect once healing is complete.
Good Candidates for lip implants
- Desire fuller lips or reduction of lip lines for a more youthful contour
- Have tried filler injections and seeking a more permanent solution
PermaLipTM Lip Implant Surgical Technique
PermaLipTM is a soft, flexible, solid silicone implant that is tapered at both ends to nicely match the natural shape of your lip. The PermaLipTM implant comes in several sizes to allow a customized augmentation of your lips. While the lip implant provides permanent augmentation of the lips, the implant can easily be removed or exchanged for a different size if desired.
PermaLipTM implant is placed along the wet-dry border of the lips to give a very natural volume enhancement without a “duck lips” appearance.
STEPS TO PERFORMING A PERMALIP LIP IMPLANT
- STEP 1: Patient is well-numbed with local anesthesia and normally will feel only pressure during the procedure.
- STEP 2: Small incisions are made one each side of the lips
- STEP 3: The incision site is entered with a special surgical instrument to create a small tunnel along the wet-dry border of the lip.
- STEP 4: Lip implant is placed through the tunneled border.
- STEP 5: Sutures are tied on each end of the tunneled lips that will dissolve eventually but also can be taken out in a week after surgery.
Cost of Surgical Lip Enhancement
There are a variety of factors that determine the overall cost of your lip lift procedure. For more detailed pricing information, visit here.
- Surgeon’s Fee: $6,000 (upper and lower lip implants)
- Anesthesia Fee: depends on length of procedure
- Hospital and Surgical Facility Fees: depends on length of procedure
- Pre-Surgical Medical Clearance and Lab Tests: usually covered by medical insurance
- Medication Costs: usually covered by medical insurance
- Follow-Up Visits: included with surgeon’s fee at The Naderi Center
Preparation for Lip Enhancement Surgery
In order to optimize surgical results, we recommend patients follow our preoperative and post-operative instructions. A special pre-surgery diet will be prescribed to minimize bruising and swelling after surgery. We advise that patients have a number of recovery items on hand to ease and enhance the healing process.
Lip Lift Preoperative Instructions
PermaLipTM Implant Preopeartive Instructions
Recovery After Lip Enhancement Surgery
Lip Lift Recovery
Most patients need 5-7 days after surgery to return back to work. After about 1 week stiches are removed and makeup can be used to cover the scar while it continues to heal. Scar after lip lift surgery typically improves over the course of the next 6 months. Some patients experience some numbness around the incision area which usually resolves by 3 months after surgery.
Lip Implant Recovery
Downtime after lip implant placement is around one week, which allows swelling and bruising to resolve. A few stitches hidden inside the corners of the lip are removed after one week. Lips are the most swollen 1-2 days after the procedure and complete swelling should be gone over the course of the course of the next four weeks. Patients usually find the lips to be tender during the first few weeks after surgery. Once most of the swelling resolves, the lips begin to feel and look more natural.
Risks, Safety and Potential Complications of Lip Enhancement Surgery
Lip enhancement surgery is very commonly performed at The Naderi Center. The procedure is typically done under local anesthesia and is considered generally low risk when performed by an expert surgeon. As with any surgical procedure there are risks unique to each type of surgery and these will be reviewed in detail during your consultation.
Risks of Lip Lift Surgery
- Loss of sensation or numbness around incision sites
- Wound separation
- Abnormal scarring
Risks of Lip Implant Placement
- Can NOT leak or rupture because of the soft but solid silicone material
- Implant rejection
- Infection (ex. cold sores) in lip area
- Lip implant migration
- Scarring in lip area
- Stiffness of the lips
- Malposition of lip implant
- Extrusion of lip implant
Surgical Lip Enhancement specialist, Dr. Jessica Kulak
The Naderi Center dedicates great attention in providing each and every patient with the highest quality care. Dr. Jessica Kulak is our double board-certified facial plastic surgeon who exclusively routinely and expertly performs a handful of cosmetic facial procedures. Lip enhancements are some of the most commonly performed procedures by Dr. Kulak. Dr. Jessica Kulak was one of the first plastic surgeons in the Washington DC area to offer the PermaLipTM lip implants to patients. During a consultation for a surgical lip enhancement, Dr. Kulak will examine your lips, take a thorough medical history, and discuss your goals.
Schedule your Lip Enhancement Consultation
Known as a leader in cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, The Naderi Center has been serving patients in the Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. area for nearly 20 years. The Naderi Center is known for being the source of physicians and surgeons that are specialized in their realm and scope of practice. Patient’s come to The Naderi Center when they want an expert on the procedure or condition they are trying to improve. Contact one of The Naderi Center’s two offices for more information, or to schedule your facelift consultation. A patient coordinator can be reached at our Reston, Virginia office at 703-481-0002 and at our Chevy Chase, Maryland office at 301-222-2020.
Lip Enhancement FAQs
If you live in the states of Virginia or Maryland, The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology offers lip enhancement among its services. For a full list of services, please visit our Locations page.