Women who desire a more prominent lip may choose to have a lip augmentation procedure to create a fuller, plumper effect. Also referred to as lip enlargement or lip enhancement, there are multiple techniques available that are performed to enlarge the upper or lower lip, or both. Women seeking dramatic results may look to have lip implants placed within the lip. These are made with a synthetic, flexible material that provides long-lasting fullness. For patients desiring a nonsurgical alternative to fuller lips, there are a number of injectable fillers to consider as well. Each option can be discussed during the initial consultation.
Many surgeons use the gull-wing lip lift to increase the prominence of the vermillion. The vermilion is the area on both the upper and lower lips that show the pink skin near the lip. During this procedure, skin and nearby tissue are removed using a small incision. The area of skin removed will be taken from or above the white line of skin that borders the vermilion. By removing this tissue, the shape of the lip is altered from both peaks of the Cupid's bow. This same process can be done to the lower lip.
The sub-nasal lip lift (also referred to as a bull-horn lip lift) is one of the more commonly performed procedures. This technique reshapes the Cupid's bow by removing a portion of skin and tissue from under the nose. Once the small piece of tissue is removed, the lip is lifted and raised. The lift is secured by tight sutures so a small section of teeth can be exposed when the mouth is at rest. This process exposes a large portion of the upper lip vermilion and visually increases the volume of the pink area of the lip.
Lip lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure at an accredited surgical facility. The surgery generally takes 1-2 hours to complete. During the first few days after surgery, there will be some swelling and moderate pain, but the results will be visible almost immediately. It can take several months for the final look of the enhanced lip to take full effect.
Lip lifts are performed to create subtle, natural results. The fear of having "duck lips" can be put to rest if a qualified surgeon performs the surgery. Most individuals who end up with pouty, duck lips were likely fitted with implants in a lip that would have received more benefit from a lift.
Lip lift surgery leaves a very minimal, inconspicuous scar. The incision is tightly closed deep within the inner lip using nylon sutures to help relieve stress on the incision. Most patients can barely notice where the incision was placed.
Some women feel lip augmentation (with either implants or fillers) will make their lips more beautiful. However, this can often result in the "duck lip" appearance we recognize in the actresses on TV. In these cases, augmentation was not the answer. Augmenting a flat, undefined lip will only create an outward, pouty lip rather than accentuate the shape and design of the mouth. A skilled plastic surgeon will be able to determine if lip augmentation or a lip lift would be a better fit in order to achieve the aesthetic results.