Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, plastic surgeons, and dermatologists alike, have noticed an increased number of lip-related procedures being done. The main request being the ‘lip lift,’ a cosmetic surgery done to reposition the lips, making them appear fuller, by removing a tiny strip of skin between the top lip and the tip of the nose, tightening the muscle, and ‘lifting’ the upper lip. One reason for the increase in demand could be, that since everyone is wearing masks when they leave the house, it is easier to cover up and conceal potential evidence of surgery, today than it would have been before the normalization of mask-wearing.
Many people underestimate a good lip lift, thinking most operations are easily noticeable or too pronounced. Truth be told, more people have gotten a lip lift or augmentation than one might think. The secret is in the proportions, with the best looking and harder-to-notice ones matching the natural contours and proportions of the recipient’s facial anatomy. Simply put, those who are afraid of lip procedures, have not seen the good ones; and that is because the good ones do not alter the patient’s anatomy, making them look natural and making it hard to tell if the person has had their lips worked on or not. Dr. Andrew Jacono states, “Many of my patients who consider lip augmentation are afraid because of all the exaggerated outcomes they see,” continuing that, “more-traditional techniques can create the overtly overfilled lips they dread, but newer, more evolved techniques can avoid it altogether.” The ideal lips look great with a ratio of one-third upper lip to two-thirds bottom lip. The reason many results can appear overdone and obviously worked on is if the upper lip is larger than the bottom lip.
The best way to ensure getting the proper proportions, is to consult with a trusted, board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. To determine if they are right for the job, take a look at their before-and-after photos, to get the best idea of what they are capable of. “Don’t be shy about asking to meet a post-surgery patient,” he advises and states that, “a skilled surgeon should have many happy patients willing to talk with prospective patients. By seeing a post-surgery patient in person, you can better understand how their lips move, and you can evaluate factors like visible scarring.”
What is a Lip Filler?
Dr. Jacono believes people dismiss the idea of getting fillers, like Botox, because of the not-so-subtle results they have seen, going on to say, “Generally speaking, with an injectable filler, half a vial or less is all that’s needed for lips, so if it’s looking like the doctor is suggesting more, the outcome will likely not be subtle.” Typically, to reassure his patients, Jacono has his patients watch in a mirror, as he injects the filler, so as to show them he is not injecting too much. If for whatever reason, a patient is not happy with the results, he is also able to inject ‘hyaluronidase,’ an enzyme that can dissolve the material in just about a day.
But not all fillers are dissolvable by this enzyme. Permanent and semipermanent fillers should never be used for these procedures, including silicone, which is not FDA-approved to be used in the lips. Jacono says that if silicone is used, “There is a small but real risk that the lip can react negatively to the silicone and create nodules and reactive tissue called granulomas, causing lumpiness and irregularities, even when it is injected perfectly.”
Lip fillers have minimal recovery time, ranging from a few days to a few weeks, to allow time for swelling and bruising to diminish. Some patients come back in a couple of times a year, to keep their results looking good. Because of how much we use our lips, from making expressions to eating and talking, the filler does not last as long as other areas it can be injected in.
What is a Lip Lift?
For some people, whose distance between the tip of the nose and lips is long and they wish to shorten it, want more voluminous lips, or even a better smile, a lip lift is a great way to achieve these goals. Like lip fillers, a great lip lift is one that looks natural. The lip lift has been well improved since its inception. Early on in the days of the lip lift, a common occurrence was scarring or healing issues. Nowadays, the scars are hidden in the curves of the nose and lips and mostly invisible to an untrained eye.
The most common lip lift procedure is called the ‘bullhorn lip lift’ or ‘Subnasal lip lift’. Dr. Jacono explains how the procedure is done: “A tiny strip of skin and tissue is removed, the muscle is tightened, and the upper lip is raised to its new position. Your scar is virtually undetectable, as it is hidden in the curves of your nose. This procedure can also elevate the central lip or corners of the lip.” The recovery period, following a lip lift, can last between a few weeks to a few months.
Not everyone should get a lip lift or needs one; and the best surgeons are able to advise patients who might have potential issues, against going through with the procedure.