Lip Lift

Conveniently located to serve the areas of New Jersey and New York

Beautiful girl with curly hairstyle

A lip lift  is a surgical procedure that shortens the space between the nose and lip. This surgical procedure is aimed to increase the amount of visible red upper lip and rebalance the ratio of red to white lip helping lips look more youthful and full. 

Lip Lift Before & Afters

Technically speaking, a lip lift involves removal of a sliver of tissue from beneath your nose. Upon closure, the upper lip gets pulled up thus exposing more of the red lip and the teeth. The sutures are removed one week after the procedure. There is a certain degree of swelling right after the surgery, which requires some downtime, usually around one week. The scar is well hidden right underneath the nose in a line almost shaped like a bullhorn (hence the name “bullhorn lip lift”), and usually becomes inconspicuous after some time. The procedure takes less than an hour and is performed under local anesthesia in the office or simply add it to another facial surgery and it will be performed in a facility.

The ideal candidate has an elongation of the skin between the nose and upper lip. i.e. when you smile your upper lip covers your top teeth, thin upper lip, lip droop from age. As we age, there is a loss of volume and skin elasticity, also the fullness and volume of the red portion of the lips becomes less, while the length of the white (skin portion) of the upper lip becomes more. One thing to keep in mind: bullhorn, or subnasal lip lift  mostly provides elevation to the central portion of the lip and more limited elevation of the corners of the lip. Quite frequently, lip corners become droopy with age creating a “sad looking” appearance. This can be improved by a direct lip lift, where a small portion of the skin right above the corners is excised and when the excision areas are closed the lip corners get pulled up. The scar is placed in the junction of the red and white lip and usually heals very inconspicuously. This procedure can also correct certain lip asymmetries by excising longer and/or wider portion of the skin over the corner that needs more lift. Direct lip lift can be combined with bullhorn lip lift to create a very naturally looking plump upper lip. 

Lip Lift Diagram

Fillers have been used for years to improve the volume of the lips and make the red lip appear fuller. However, there are few downsides of using fillers for lip augmentation: 1) fillers do not help decrease the length of excessively long white upper lip; 2) fillers not only increase lip volume in a vertical direction, but also horizontally, causing so called “duck lips” appearance in certain patients; 3) fillers are absorbable and injections need to be repeated every 6 months or so.

It is important to have a consultation with Dr. Ovchinsky to determine if you are a candidate. He will address all your concerns, go through recovery and the new improvement you will see.  


What do I need to avoid before surgery?

If you are on “blood thinners,” you will be asked to stop them approximately one week prior to surgery. We also ask that you avoid certain over-the-counter medications. If you are taking some herbal supplements, you should stop those as well as they may contain blood thinning substances. Also, you have to completely quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery.

What about my daily medications before surgery?

You will have a preoperative appointment well in advance of your surgery when we will review all mediations with you. If you are on “blood thinners,” you will be asked to stop them approximately one week prior to surgery. We also ask that you avoid certain over-the-counter medications. You may continue taking most routine medications up until the morning of surgery with a small sip of water.

What happens after surgery?

You will go to the recovery room for a few hours until you are fully recovered from anesthesia. Once you are stable you will be taken home (or to a hotel) by your family member or a friend. You will want to stay relaxed for the first few days. You will need to keep your head elevated when in bed to help with faster resolution of swelling. You should begin to start walking, eating, and using the restroom the day after surgery. Your activity can slowly increase each day but it will take up to 2 weeks before you start to feel like your old self again. You should avoid any strenuous activity for 4 weeks. You will need to take medication prescribed to you by Dr. Ovchinsky, which usually include antibiotics, pain medicine, antibiotic ointment for the incisions, and occasionally anti-nausea medications.

Are there any dietary restrictions following surgery?

No. Patients can eat whatever they want. Advance your diet from liquids (fruit juice, milk shake, etc.) to soft food (pudding, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, oatmeal, pasta) to solids as tolerated. To prevent dehydration, please drink as much juices and nutritional fluid as possible.

When will my stitches be taken out?

Stitches are normally removed five to six days after your surgery.

How soon will I be able to exercise?

Dr. Ovchinsky recommends that patients do not return to exercise for three weeks after their procedure.

When will I be able to see the results?

You may see the difference right away, and more so once the swelling goes down within the first one to two weeks. As with any surgical procedure, it takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months for the results to become final.

What is special about the way Dr. Ovchinsky does the surgery?

Dr. Ovchinsky tailors his surgical technique to an individual patient rather than using the same “run of the mill” surgery on everybody. The technique he uses causes minimal pain, has natural results, and is long-lasting. The vast majority of patients are quite surprised afterward at how little discomfort they have and how quickly they return to normal activity. Most patients have minimal bruising. Finally, with Dr. Ovchinsky technique and attention to details during skin closure, scars are typically minimal and are often difficult to see once they have fully matured.