Lip Lift

Lip Lift Rejuvenation Procedure

Reviewed by Andrew Jacono, MD

Full, pink and pouty lips are often associated with youth. But when your facial skin starts to sag and lose its elasticity, your lips may share some of the burden. The vermilion (pink part of your upper lip) basically disappears. What's more, there is a visible lengthening of the distance from the base of your nose to your lip border, which can hide your teeth when you smile.

The good news is that a lip lift, along with some lip rejuvenation using injectable fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm, can help. If you have a thin upper lip, or if your upper lip is longer than your bottom lip, you may be a candidate for an upper lip lift.

Upper Lip Lift

Courtesy of AAFPRS

The most popular lip lift procedure targets your upper lip, elevating it to reveal a broader smile and increasing both the volume and the vermilion.

One popular type of upper lip lift is called the Bull's Horn Lip Lift. During this procedure, your surgeon makes an incision just beneath your nose. He or she then removes a tiny strip of skin and tissue, and raises your upper lip to its new position. This cut-out is crafted like a "Cupid's Bow" (curve of your upper lip) to reshape your upper lip. With this lip lift, your scar is virtually undetectable.

Other upper lip lift types vary based on where the incision is placed. For example, a Gull Wing Lift removes a strip of skin above the border of your upper lip. The cut-out is M-shaped to advance the border of your upper lip. The incision is made where the pink part of your lip meets the skin of your top lip. This lip lift leaves a visible scar, and as result is not used as frequently.

The decision about which lip enhancement procedure or procedures are right for you is based on your aesthetic goals and your anatomy as well as your surgeon's expert opinion.

In general, an upper lip lift procedure can be performed in a cosmetic surgeon's office using local anesthetic and takes one to two hours to complete. There will be some swelling in the first few days after your surgery, and any non-dissolvable stitches are typically removed within a week.

Complications from upper lip lift surgery are minor, but can include a separation of the incision, abnormal scarring, loss of sensation, infection, and fluid accumulation. There is also a risk that you will be unhappy with the results, which are considered permanent with a surgical upper lip lift.

Protect yourself by choosing an experienced surgeon who has performed many of these procedures and following his or her instructions. He or she will make sure you are an appropriate candidate for the procedure, and that the benefits outweigh any risks. This is the primary way to minimize your risks and maximize the cosmetic results of your upper lip lift.

Lip Lift: Other Options?

Some surgeons may use a combination of lasers to rejuvenate aging lips. Laser energy can stimulate the growth of new collagen to tighten and remodel the vermilion, restoring your cupid's bow. Micropigmentation, or "permanent make-up," also may be an option for filling out your upper lip. While some injectable fillers, most notably Restylane and Juvederm, are often used for lip augmentation, others, including Radiesse and Sculptra, are not. The best way to determine which lip enhancement procedure is best for you is to consult a board certified facial plastic surgeon or a board certified plastic surgeon. For more information on other lip augmentation procedures, visit our comprehensive article on the topic.

Upper Lip Lift Cost

An upper lip lift costs between $1,000 and $3,000, on average. If you are having other lip enhancement procedures performed at the same time, the cost will be higher. These procedures are typically considered cosmetic, and as such are not covered by insurance. If the cost is prohibitive, ask about payment or financing plans.

About the Reviewer of this Article

Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS, specializes in revision rhinoplasty at his New York-based practice. He is dual board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery.) Dr. Jacono is section head of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, and an assistant clinical professor of facial and plastic and reconstructive surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Jacono is also an assistant professor of head and neck surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. He is director of the New York Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery and J SPA Medical Day Spa in Great Neck, NY. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of the book FACE THE FACTS: The Truth About Plastic Surgery Procedures That Do and Don't Work. For more information on Dr. Jacono, visit

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