A lip lift reshapes the lips, making the pink border, known as the vermilion border, more prominent. Changing the area above the lips can give you fuller-looking lips and enhance your smile. Women and men are candidates for a lip lift.

Fast Facts

  • Lip lift surgery can revitalise your lips and make you look younger.
  • Lip lift surgery takes between 30 and 90 minutes and is usually performed under a local anaesthetic.
  • A lip lift involves the removal of skin between the upper lip and nose, lifting the upper lip and increasing the upper lip’s total area.
  • The recovery time from lip lift surgery is relatively short compared with other surgical procedures.

A lip lift, which is a surgical procedure, should not be confused with lip augmentation—sometimes also called lip enhancement—a non-surgical procedure where dermal filler is injected into the lips. Sometimes surgeons offer a lip lift and lip augmentation as a combination procedure. A lip lift may also be offered as part of a total facelift package.

The lip lift has not yet reached the top 20 most sought-after cosmetic surgical procedures because a number of non-surgical techniques achieve similar results. The effects of most non-surgical procedures, however usually last a maximum of six months, whereas the effects of a surgical lip lift can last many years.

Reasons for choosing to have a lip lift

You could benefit from lip lift surgery if your lips have become deflated and narrow with age; if the corners of your mouth droop, giving you an angry or sad appearance, making you appear a lot older than you are; or if you want a result that lasts longer than the non-surgical alternatives.

Lip lift surgery can revitalise your lips and make you look younger.

What to expect

Lip lift surgery takes between 30 and 90 minutes and is usually performed under a local anaesthetic.  You can go home once the anaesthetic has worn off.

The recovery time from lip lift surgery is relatively short compared with other surgical procedures. You can take a shower or apply make-up 24 hours after surgery.

You may initially experience some pain and discomfort. Your lips may be slightly swollen, with swelling becoming more obvious within two or three days. Swelling should have completely disappeared after a week.

A lip lift involves the removal of skin between the upper lip and nose, lifting the upper lip and increasing the upper lip’s total area. As a result of the upper lip being lifted, the bottom lip appears more full than previously. A variety of surgical techniques can be used to achieve the same results, in lip lift surgery. The incision can be made below the nose, near the outer border of the lip or inside the mouth. You and your surgeon can decide which technique is best for you.

Before and after surgery

There are several things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience.

There are also a number of things you can do following any surgery.

If incisions were made on the lip or inside the mouth, there will be no surgical dressings, and the sutures inside the mouth will self-dissolve over time. You should only consume cold liquids and cold meals for the first 48 hours following surgery.

Possible risks and complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in lip lift surgery. You should be fully aware of these before you elect to have the procedure. It is always better to err on the side of caution when surgically changing your face.

Familiarise yourself with the full list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.

The best way to minimise risk is finding a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in lip lifts who has a successful record with the procedures. Looking at before and after photographs can be very useful in choosing a surgeon.

Specific complications that may occur after lip lift surgery:

  • Stiffness and numbness of the lip, or paraesthesia. Paraesthesia is any abnormal sensation, but usually refers to pins-and-needles.
  • Distortion or lengthening of the lips.
  • Speech difficulties and impediments.
  • Unsightly and visible scarring.

If these issues do not resolve after a few months, consult your surgeon. You may need to have further surgery to correct the issue.

Just as you would discuss potential benefits before surgery, it is always advisable to ask your surgeon to address potential risks as they apply to you.

Rough costs involved

The cost of a lip lift will vary depending on the surgeon, the facilities used and the exact technique. Your surgeon will help you estimate potential costs after a consultation.

Usually a lip lift costs between $2500 and $3500 (AUD). This includes the surgeon’s fee and fees for the anaesthetist and the hospital cost. It will also include the cost of a follow up visit. Sometimes a lip lift is offered as part of a package.

Some Australian private health insurers may help pay for the hospital bed and theatre fees. Getting a doctor’s referral may enable you to make a claim on these costs.

You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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