Subnasal Lift (Lip Lift)
Subnasal lift (or lip lift) transforms a thin, sometimes nearly absent upper lip into a feminine, attractive, yet naturally full lip. It is a simple procedure that consists of removing some skin between the lip and the nose, and lifting it to expose the pink portion of the upper lip where lipstick is applied.
Good candidates for this procedure are women whose upper lip is thin and lacking volume.
In some patients, genetics are such that the upper lip is rather thin with little pink part exposed. For most, filler injections, performed in the office are effective at providing more volume and body to the upper lip. However some may wish for a more permanent solution, which can be achieved with this simple lip lift procedure. For those patients who have very little pink lip showing, even fillers may not yield the desired result. A lip lift becomes the only way to expose the pink lip.
More mature ladies are also frequently excellent candidates for a subnasal lift. With age, the pink portion of the lip becomes thinner and less everted (less pouted outward). Therefore, for many mature ladies, a lip lift is a very effective procedure to restore the youthful look of the lip, and allow the application of lipstick, which further rejuvenates the upper lip. For these patients, the procedure is often performed in conjunction with a facelift or other procedure as part of an overall rejuvenation, although it can certainly be performed alone.
Another use for the procedure is to shorten the distance between the mouth and the nose. Indeed, for some women, this distance is long, creating an imbalance or lack of harmony between the nose, upper lip, and mouth. A lip lift can shorten this distance, restoring harmonious proportions.
Patients who are not good candidates for a lip lift are those with a very short distance between the lip and nose. In those patients alternate options, such as fillers are often recommended and will usually yield satisfying results.
The procedure is simple, usually performed under local anesthesia with a mild sedative (see anesthesia). The length of the procedure is approximately 30 minutes and recovery lasts 5-7 days, with usually no pain or bruising. In the first 3-4 days, the upper lip seems quite large, mainly due to swelling, but this gradually subsides to give way to a youthful, natural looking and feminine upper lip. Sutures are removed at 5 days and patients are able to resume normal activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the restrictions after the surgery?
The main restriction is strenuous physical activity for one week. This includes vigorous exercise and heavy lifting. Anything that causes the patient to strain is not recommended, including bending forward.
Will I have a scar?
The scar is usually very well concealed in the creases between the nostrils and the face as well as inside the nostrils themselves. Initially, a small amount of make-up is sufficient to conceal it. In time, as the scar heals further, it gradually becomes a very thin, imperceptible line, hidden int the creases and shadows of the nostrils.
What about smiling, eating, and talking?
None of these functions are affected. Due to the initial swelling, the upper lip may be a little stiff. While this does not affect eating and drinking, speaking and smiling may feel slightly unusual. This subsides within a few days following the procedure.
How long is the recovery?
In 5-7 days, the swelling has largely resolved, the lip has assumed its normal position, and the sutures have been removed. Patients can return to normal daily activities at that point.
Will I have a lot of bruising?
There is seldom any bruising with the lip lift procedure.
Will I need another procedure a few years later?
The procedure is generally performed once and it is quite rare to need another procedure, even years later.