close up of a woman putting her finger on her lips

One of the first things we notice about a person is their smile. This can make it incredibly difficult for individuals who feel self-conscious about their lips and their smile. Some people grow to hide their lips and expression behind a carefully placed hand or begin to duck their head and hide behind hair. A lip lift is a great option to help improve the appearance of the lips, leaving you looking younger and more ready to smile.

Smiling should never make one self-conscious. The lips are a prominent part of the face and essential to expressing ourselves. Unfortunately, lips can show signs of aging, often leading to fine lines and wrinkles around and on the lips, leaving them smaller and more puckered-looking. Many treatments like fillers and Botox can delay the appearance of wrinkles and smile lines, but they won’t last forever. Lip lifts also make the upper lip appear larger and shorten the space between the nose and the upper lip. The procedure is much simpler than most people think, but can make a big difference overall. 

Lip Lift Basics

A lip lift is a simple surgical procedure that helps lift sagging and drooping skin on the mouth. It can improve the appearance and help treat excessive sensitivity around the lips rubbing against teeth when eating and drinking. 

The procedure involves removing a small amount of skin above the lip and below the nose. This allows the lip to be lifted as the distance between the nose and lip is shortened. The purpose of a lip lift is to add volume and enhance the lip’s height, allowing them to appear fuller and less impacted by wrinkles. It can also change the shape of your smile, showing more of your upper teeth depending on your face. 

Many people seek out lip treatments because over time the skin can sag and droop more with age. The lips can be greatly impacted by environmental factors like too much sun exposure or smoke, leading to problems like loss in definition and thinning lips. 

The procedure itself takes around an hour and uses local anesthesia with minimal recovery time needed. Many people aren’t aware of the details around a lip lift and how simple the procedure is. Many mistake a lip lift for a lip augmentation or a lip flip. 

Types of Lifts

There are several different types of lip lifts that employ different strategies to help improve facial features. The type of lift used depends on your lips and how you want your results to look. Some types of lip lifts may work better than others and consulting with a practiced plastic surgeon will help you best determine which will suit your facial features. 

Direct Lip Lift

The direct lip lift method requires removing a strip of skin directly above the upper lip and lifting it toward the nose. The incision is generally visible after surgery but can be covered with makeup. This procedure is fast and can take as little as ten minutes. With proper aftercare, it should heal well and leave an incision only visible upon close inspection. 


The Italian lip lift is also a very common procedure. It involves two incisions below the nostrils, cutting at the corner of the mouth. This procedure can create more noticeable results, but due to the wider incision may leave a scar that is harder to hide. The procedure tends to take longer than the direct lip lift and could last up to an hour, depending on the desired results.

Corner Lip Lift

Corner lip lift surgery is a good fit if you want a simple treatment for a small amount of saggy skin. This procedure involves two small incisions at the corners of the mouth and only removes a bit of skin from the area. It is a good fit for people who don’t need much done, but want to upturn the corners of their mouth. 


A central lip lift will alter the space between the nose and mouth by removing some skin under the nose. This procedure works well for those with moderate sagging in that area. Again, it only takes around 30 minutes with local anesthesia. However, depending on how much work needs to be done, it could take longer. 

Overall, a lip lift is relatively quick for all of the changes it can make to the area. The results produce fuller-looking lips that also appear more youthful and fresh. The results can look natural and more subtle than other solutions like fillers and generally last several years with the option for touch-up later on. 

Lip Lift: Before and After

Taking care of your health before and after the procedure ensures a smooth treatment and recovery. Before your procedure, you should work with your plastic surgeon to find the right look for you. Make sure you are comfortable with your doctor and ask as many questions as you need to understand the procedure and what you can expect fully. 

If you take certain medications, you may need to pause taking them before the procedure, depending on the side effects. You will need to provide a complete medical history and disclose any allergies or other pertinent details so your doctor can ensure the best care and safety practices for your procedure.

All surgeries carry risks, and while a lip lift is very simple, it can lead to bleeding and infection. If the site becomes infected, you must take an antibiotic to help it heal. You may experience some swelling and bruising after the procedure; in more severe cases, there may be numbness in the area. 

The recovery period is relatively short, though you may experience some bruising and tenderness for up to two weeks in the area. It is important to keep your head elevated for a few days and avoid strenuous activity for about a week. You should schedule a follow-up a few weeks following the procedure so your surgeon can check on the healing process. 

Your surgeon will be able to provide a thorough list of ways to prepare for the procedure and how to ensure proper healing afterward. Double-check all of the details, so you know how to treat the area and can heal safely to see positive results. 

Non-Surgical Options

Some people may be more interested in non-surgical options that don’t require the same amount of downtime. A lip flip and lip filler are common non-surgical procedures that can be an alternative to a surgical lip lift. Fillers are non-invasive and require minimal downtime compared to a lift. 

Lip fillers have been used for a long time but have become more popular in the last few years. It is a temporary way to add volume to lips and lasts around six months to a year, depending on various factors. 

Most lip fillers use hyaluronic acid, which naturally occurs in the body. The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes, with some swelling following treatment. Fillers can be an excellent short-term solution but may only provide some of the changes you want. Knowing the difference between these two options will help you find the best fit for your goals. 

A Smile to Celebrate

Lips play a huge part in our face and overall appearance. Feeling confident in your lips, smile, and appearance can change how you feel about yourself and act around others. While it is impossible to stop the aging process and prevent fine lines from impacting your face, you can take preventative measures to protect your lips and give them a boost. 

Lip lift surgery could offer a new look and a solution to smaller, less discernible lips due to age and environmental exposures. There are many different styles to help fit your specific needs. 
When considering changing your look through plastic surgery, working with an experienced professional is crucial. Leif Rogers, MD, and his team have years of experience helping people achieve their ideal looks. With a wide variety of treatment options available, you can find a plan to meet your specific goals. Reach out and schedule a consultation today to learn more.

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