As the face ages, we see the constant force of gravity coupled with changes in the skin and adipose (fat) tissues. These factors lead to the well-known phenomena of jowl formation, drooping neck tissue, and hollow or sunken-appearing eyes. These same processes also occur in the lip region, and despite some dramatic age-related changes, this area is often overlooked.
Careful examination shows that, in some patients, the upper lip elongates significantly with age. This makes the cutaneous (skin) part of the upper lip appear much longer than the mucosal (vermillion, or “red”) part of the lip. In severe cases, the “red” lip almost disappears entirely. These changes are related to gravity and loss of elasticity in the skin, but also may be related to bone volume loss in the maxilla (upper jaw) – a particular issue after menopause. Regardless of the exact mechanism, Dr. Ransom can correct this problem by performing an upper lip lift.
The lip lift is a minor surgical procedure which can be performed with local anesthesia or under light sedation, depending on patient preference. This may be performed alone or with other surgical or non-surgical aesthetic procedures, such as rhytidectomy (facelift or neck lift) and chemical peels or laser resurfacing. In cases where the patient desires a fuller upper lip, in addition to the lip lift, a lip augmentation can be performed with injectible fillers, the patient’s own fat cells, or through a surgical procedure. The end result is a more youthful and proportional lip, with a reappearance of the “red part” of the lip and a brighter, more natural smile.
Who is a candidate?
Anyone who is interested in reclaiming their upper lip. Typical patients have a very long cutaneous portion of the upper lip (skin colored part) and/or a very short part of the wet lip (the red part). Dr. Ransom will show you during your consultation the parts of the lip and demonstrate the possible changes available with a variety of lip procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will the lip lift change the way my mouth moves or affect the way I speak?
A: No. The lip lift procedure, no matter how it’s performed, does not affect the nerves or muscle of the mouth. If you select a surgical approach, immediately following the procedure there will be a mild amount of swelling. While this is resolving, you may have some mild difficulty with enunciation or eating certain foods. This is temporary and generally resolves within two days. As your healing progresses, your lips will move normally and naturally.
Q: Is it possible to combine a lip lift with a lip enlargement?
A: Yes, these two procedures are commonly performed together. Dr. Ransom will work closely with you to determine the exact treatment plan that will best help you reach your aesthetic goals. As a face specialist, he understands that everyone’s face is different. He will gladly go over the details each of the procedure and your specific questions during your confidential consultation.
Q: What are my options for anesthesia?
A: The majority of patients having lip reduction surgery choose to do so with local anesthesia only. The procedure is performed after nerve blocks, which make the entire lip numb. In cases where lip reduction is combined with other procedures, sedation anesthesia may be used.
Q: How do you make sure that the incision heals well and isn’t visible?
A: First, the incision is hidden in the crease at the base of the nose. Second, the closure is performed in two layers, with a deep layer of sutures used to take off tension and promote smooth healing. Third, postoperative care includes use of a special topical scar treatment called Biocornuem. This product contains Silicone gel, moisturizers, and an SPF 30 strength sunscreen. Dr. Ransom works closely with all his patients to make sure that they achieve the best possible results from their cosmetic procedures.
Please note that all patients are different and individual healing times and results may vary. The statements regarding procedures and recovery made here are general rules.