Lip Lift Surgery or Non-Surgical Treatment - Which One is Right for You?

Posted January 17, 2022
Should you get a Lip Lift Surgery or Non-Surgical Lip Lift

When people think of making their lips fuller, they may immediately think of dermal filler injections, thanks to celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen. But there are ways to make the lip look fuller and more defined without adding injections with a lip lift surgery. 

A lip lift surgery enhances the upper lip by adjusting the distance between the lip and nose. This surgical lip procedure causes the upper lip to lift, showing more of the pink tissue.

So, now that Kylie has dissolved her lip injections, we wonder if she will consider a lip lift surgery instead? Or will she go back to filler injections? We share the details about the different ways to create fuller-looking lips with and without surgery. 

What is a Lip Lift Surgery?

Lip lift surgery focuses on increasing the pink tissue of the upper lip by shortening the space underneath the nose to the center of the upper lip. The space between the bottom of the nose to the lip’s edge is called the philtrum. With a lip lift, the distance gets shorter by a cosmetic surgeon when they cut a wedge of the skin beneath the nose. Removing the extra length of the skin causes the upper lip to lift, resulting in a more pronounced pout.   

The lip lift is a surgical procedure that takes about an hour to complete and only uses local anesthesia, meaning the patient is awake but will not feel the procedure in progress. A Lip lift surgery is a permanent solution to enhance the appearance of the upper lip to look taller and fuller. 

What Are the Different Types of Lip Lift Surgeries?

The most common lip lift surgery technique is the central lip lift (described above). However, multiple surgical procedures offer different types of lifts for the lips. 

Subnasal Bullhorn

The subnasal bullhorn, also known as the Bullhorn Lip Lift, involves the surgeon will make an incision in the shape of a bullhorn along the base of the nose. The incision goes from the right to the left nostril, removing a small amount of skin and turning up the upper lip. The incisions take the shape of the base of the nose, making the incision-less visible. 

Italian Lip Lift

An Italian lip lift requires two incisions below each nostril and lifts the lips from these two points instead of making one long incision at the base of the nose. The incisions do not leave a noticeable scar.

Corner Lip Lift

Also called the “grin lift,” it helps a person with naturally downturned down lips by turning the corners of the mouth up. The plastic surgeon makes two tiny incisions and removes a small amount of skin at each corner of the mouth. 

Direct lip lift 

Also known as the gullwing lip lift that focuses on creating a more defined lip border by removing a thin strip of skin above the upper lip. Removing the strip of skin pulls up the entire upper lip and creates a fuller illusion from corner to corner. This procedure will leave a minor scar on the upper lip area.

Whichever technique you decide to move forward with will depend on the natural shape of your lips and which area you wish to enhance. We recommend consulting with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to discuss the best technique that aligns with your ultimate vision of your lip augmentation. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Lip Lift Surgery?

Here are a few criteria that make a candidate ideal for a lip lift: 

  • A person with a thin upper lip.
  • A patient with an elongated space beneath the noes to the edge of the upper lip.
  • Older patients with atrophy of the lip muscle, when the muscle thins out.

Patients that are NOT an ideal candidate include:

Patients with a naturally full upper lip (the procedure rotates the lip outward- causing the lip to look larger and prominent).Patients with a gummy smile (a higher portion of gum tissue to teeth), a lip flip might be a better option to make the lip fuller and cover the gums naturally.

What is a Non-Surgical Lip Lift?

A non-surgical lip lift means making the lips fuller with dermal injections using hyaluronic acid (HA) formulations. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in our bodies that attracts the moisture in our skin and can hold up to 1000X its weight. HA filler injections are the ideal type of filler used to create a natural-looking and fuller pout. But the final results from the injections can take 2-3 weeks to see the complete development from the HA formula.

The most popular HA dermal fillers used for lips are: 

  • Restylane Silk is an FDA-approved HA injectable dermal filler specifically designed for lip augmentation and to smooth out fine lines around the mouth. 
  • Juvéderm Volbella is also approved by the FDA to add volume to the lips. This dermal filler is made of a specially formulated hyaluronic acid gel that mimics the look of connective tissue. 

There are injection techniques that can target specific areas of the lips, such as the “Bow and Arrow” technique that focuses on the “M” shape of the upper lip, causing a fuller pout to the top lip.

What Are the Benefits of a Non-Surgical Lip Lift?

There are some advantages of going with a non-surgical lip lift instead of a lip lift surgery, starting with: 

  • A lip filler procedure only takes 20-30 minutes to complete, with minimal downtime. 
  • Subtle results are immediate and will progressively improve as the HA formula develops more volume in the lips.
  • HA fillers can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines around the mouth area.
  • An HA filler injection is a non-permanent solution that eventually dissolves into the body.
  • Zero recovery time.

There are some drawbacks with getting a lip filler, starting with: 

  • It doesn’t address the elongated space between the nose and lips.
  • Results will fade away if not maintained with more injections.
  • There’s a risk of over-fill or over-injection to the lips.
  • Injecting additives and manufactured ingredients into the body.

Final Takeaway - Lip Lift Surgery or Non-Surgical Procedure

Deciding to go with a lip lift surgery or a non-surgical procedure will begin by asking yourself how you feel about the distance between the bottom of the nose and the edge of your lips. Or do you want to reshape the edges or define specific lips areas? Then a surgical procedure will be the ideal permanent solution to help achieve these desired looks for your lips.

However, if you wish to make your lips fuller overall, a non-surgical treatment with dermal filler injections will be the option to consider but require maintenance for continued results. 

A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon should be the first step towards your journey to achieving a fuller and more defined pout. 

To find a board-certified cosmetic surgeon experienced with performing lip lift surgery or non-surgical procedures, use our “Find a Doctor” navigation tool for a medical professional in your area. 

- VM


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