Procedures » Lip lift

Lip lift procedure is usually suggested by me during consultation as most patients are unaware that there is an imbalance in their face or that such a procedure even exists. Over the years few procedures have provided me or my patients with as much gratification as shortening the upper lift when indicated.

A beautiful face has a certain harmony to it and the length of the upper lip plays a vital role in creating a youthful, happy, or sometimes sexy appearance. I have been doing lip lift procedure for 16 years and over that time I have gotten more discerning about when to employ it and when not to. The operation is relatively simple to perform but requires a great attention to detail and meticulous technique. Often this is a procedure that is done in combination with other facial procedures but it can also be done independently.

Lip Lift Candidates

The usual candidates are those born with very thin lips or a long distance between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip border. Aging also creates increased length and a loss of lip volume so that this lip lift procedure is very helpful for rejuvenating the face in many patients, both men and women. The trade off with lip lift technique is an incisional scar at the base of the nose.

The great majority of the time this scar heals to a point of being unnoticeable to any casual observer, even without makeup. However, healing is not completely predictable and there are times when the scar requires some help with such things as laser or injections or dermabrasion. If the patients are chosen carefully for this procedure then the net gain is always substantially greater than any downside and we have happy patients and surgeon.

Lip Lift | Beverly Hills, CA

The Lip Lift Technique

There are other surgical techniques that I use to improve the appearance of the lips or mouth and some involve incisions inside of the lip or even on the face just above the corners of the mouth. It is not incumbent upon my patients to inquire about specific techniques, but simply to tell me what is bothering them or what ideally they would like their mouth to look like. I will make suggestions based on those things taking into account the individual person and the risk/benefit profile.

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FAQs about Lip Lift

What is a lip lift?

Lip lifts can help bring harmony to a person’s face by altering the length of the upper lip. Balance can also be improved during a lip lift by adding volume to the upper and/or lower lip, increasing the red portion of the upper lip that is visible, shortening the area between the nose and upper lip, or softening the downturned corners of the upper lip. Patients who have no show of their upper teeth when smiling may look into a lip lift.

Who are the best candidates for lip lifts?

Ideal candidates for a lip lift are those born with thin lips or a long distance between the top of the upper lip and the bottom of the nose. Candidates may also be men or women who have lost volume or had the length of the lip increase during the aging process. Anyone undergoing a plastic surgery procedure should be a non-smoker in good health, with no life-threatening illnesses.

What should I expect during my lip lift consultation?

A lip lift consultation with a surgeon will include a discussion of your medical history and any medications or substances you are using. It is important to disclose any drug allergies you may have and other procedures that have been performed in the past.

The doctor will want to know what you would like to achieve with the lip lift procedure. He will discuss your options with you. The lips will be examined and measurements will be taken.

Photographs for your medical records may also be produced. Information about recovery and risks will be given to candidates so that they can make informed decisions prior to going through with the procedure.

Can I continue taking my medication prior to a lip lift?

Some medications and supplements should not be taken prior to surgery since they can increase bleeding. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided along with vitamin E and several herbal supplements. Use of these substances will need to stop a couple weeks before. Smokers should also quit smoking tobacco products prior to the surgery. Further instructions will be provided by the doctor.

What happens during a lip lift procedure?

A lip lift is a minimally invasive procedure, requiring only local anesthesia. The procedure is fairly simple, but requires an artistic eye to achieve desirable results. The techniques used during the procedure are largely dependent on the goals of the patient and whether he or she is looking to increase volume or show more of the red part of the lip. Filler injections can be used to add volume.

Incisions for lip lifts are made at the base of the nose to shorten the area above the upper lip and raise the lip to a more pleasing position. The upper lip is shortened and appears fuller after a wing shaped area of skin is removed and closed with sutures. Sometimes this procedure is referred to as a subnasal lift.


Some surgical techniques used by Dr. Frankel also involve incisions inside of the lip or above the corners of the mouth.

How long does a lip lift take?

Times for cosmetic surgery procedures vary from patient to patient. A lip lift can take as little as 30 minutes.

Will I be left with scars?

Most scars are unnoticeable and will fade over time. Prior to that time they may be camouflaged with makeup. In the rare case that the scar does not heal well, laser treatments, injections, or dermabrasion may be able to help significantly reduce the appearance of the scar.

What can I expect during recovery following a lip lift?

A moderate degree of swelling is typical for the first 72 hours after a lip lift. This can be controlled with a cold compress. A small amount of bruising may be present, but will fade in less than a week. Any pain or discomfort may be able to be controlled with pain medication. Sutures will be removed 5 days following surgery.

How long does it take to fully recover?

Most patients are fully recovered from a lip lift procedure after 5 -7 days. Patients must remember to use sun protection regularly and lead a healthy lifestyle if they want the outcome of their procedure to be preserved.

What risks and complications can arise from a lip lift?

Although most surgical procedures go smoothly, it is important to make patients aware of the risks and complications that can occur with a lip lift. One such risk is an uneven, asymmetrical shape. This can occur during healing or from issues during surgery. Numbness may be felt for some time following the procedure. Scarring can also be more prominent than intended. Infection is rare, but a possibility. Following post-surgical instructions will help limit risks.

Will my insurance cover a lip lift?

Lip lifts are typically considered cosmetic and not covered by medical insurance. Inquire about financing options with your doctor.

Related procedures: Aesthetic Injections, Chin augmentation, Blepharoplasty.