New York Center for Facial Plastic Surgery
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, dermatologists and plastic surgeons alike have noticed a spike in demand for the lip lift, a cosmetic procedure that quite literally lifts the lip to a more desirable position. One reason for this recent surge in demand could very well be that, because the vast majority of people have been wearing masks out of the house, the lip lift’s immediate post-surgical results are easier to conceal.
Thanks to unflattering media representation, many believe that the lip lift leaves the mouth looking strangely protrusive, but the reality is that a well-executed lift is subtle enough to match the existing contours of the patient’s face. Put simply, those most skeptical of the lip lift have likely never seen truly excellent results.
“Many of my prospective lip lift and augmentation patients are afraid of looking cartoonish and exaggerated,” says Dr. Jacono. “This anxiety isn’t misplaced; older, more traditional techniques can make the lips look overfilled, but newer, more evolved techniques can avoid this effect altogether.”
According to Dr. Jacono, the ideal upper lip encompasses just one-third of the mouth’s total size, whereas the lower lip fills out the other two-thirds. Problems arise, of course, when cosmetic surgery makes the upper lip appear larger than the bottom lip. The best way to avoid such distortion is to consult a trusted, board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, and to browse their before-and-after photographs to get a sense of their capabilities.
“Don’t be shy about asking to meet people who have already had work done,” Dr. Jacono advises. “A skilled surgeon should have a lot of patients who are willing to chat with prospective clients. The upside of reaching out is that you can see how the patient’s lips look and move, and also if there is any visible scarring.”
According to Dr. Jacono, people tend to dismiss injectables, like Botox, because certain doctors overfill their patients.
“Generally speaking, half a vial or less of injectable filler is all the lips need, so if a doctor is suggesting more, the outcome will probably not be very subtle.”
To reassure his patients, Dr. Jacono gives them a handheld mirror as he applies their filler. If a patient is unhappy with the results, Dr. Jacono is happy to use hyaluronidase, an enzyme that can dissolve injected material within a single day.
Unfortunately, hyaluronidase cannot dissolve permanent and semi-permanent fillers. Silicone, for example, is not FDA-approved for use on the lips and should never be used as an injectable.
“There is a risk that the lips can react negatively to silicone and form nodules and reactive tissues called granulomas,” says Dr. Jacono. “In other words, silicone can make the lips look lumpy and irregular, even if it is injected perfectly.”
Lip fillers can cause some swelling and bruising, but recovery time is minimal, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Some patients return to their doctors a number of times a year because fillers do not last as long in the lips as they do in other areas of the face and body.
The lip lift is great for those with a large distance between the tip of their nose and their upper lip, and even for those who want a better smile. Dr. Jacono’s lip lifts look exceptionally natural, though most modern techniques do a splendid job of improving the mouth’s appearance. Even better news is that, nowadays, scarring is minimal, as incisions are tactfully hidden within the curves of the nose and lips.
The most common lip lift procedure is known as the “bullhorn lip lift,” or the “subnasal lip lift.”
“During a bullhorn lip lift, a tiny strip of skin and tissue is removed, and the underlying muscle is tightened. The upper lip is then raised to a new position, and the incision is closed. This can also elevate the lip’s central and corner sections. Recovery time lasts between a few weeks and a few months.”
Not everyone who desires a lip lift needs one; the best way to figure out if you are a candidate is by visiting a qualified physician who has the expertise to advise you on your preferences and ultimate decision.
New York Center for Facial Plastic Surgery
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