Lip Lift

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a male and I’m interested in a lip lift procedure. I say this because I feel as if the distance between the base of my nose and my upper lip is too long for my face and throws my facial balance out or proportion. As you know, a lip lift is able to reduce that distance which is exactly what I need. What you also know is that the lip lift pouts the upper lip, which is something that I’m not aiming for with this procedure; mainly because pouty lips on a male can look overly feminine . I know that this effect is unavoidable, it’s a question of whether the benefits of reducing the upper lip distance outweighs the drawbacks of a slightly poutier upper lip. However I feel that I’m unable to make a decision without knowing precisely how the procedure will effect my upper lip. So my question is: is there any way in which I can visualize the likely result of this procedure on my own face? I’ve tried morphing my upper lip to be slightly more full but it doesn’t seem to give the same effect that I’ve generally seen with lip lift before/afters which tend to alter the upper lip size, but not in a straightforward way as the morphing app is only capable of doing. 

That brings me onto my next question about patient results. From the many before and afters that I have seen, some seem to really change the lip proportions whilst others don’t really drastically affect the upper lip proportions at all. I have noticed that this is even the case where the upper lip distance reduced in these comparable results isn’t hugely different! Obviously I would prefer a result like those in which the upper lip hasn’t been changed all that much. But how am I to tell which sort of case I would fall under? 

The last question I had was whether a portion of the underside of the upper lip could be removed in order to thin the upper lip from the underside. And then have the lip lift performed on the thinner upper lip? I say this because my upper lip has a very slight tubercle hanging downwards (I am not sure if I’m decsribing it rightly, what I mean is that a sort of triangle hangs down from the centre of the upper lip, it’s quite common). If this tubercle could be removed and the upper lip therefore thinned, could that mitigate the increased upper lip thickness that may result from the lip lift? If it can, that would be great because it means that I’ll have the same net upper vermillion size with a shorter upper lip length?

A: In answer to your upper lip lift questions:

  1. There is now way to accurately show before surgery what the real effects of a lip lift would be on your areas of lip shape concerns.
  2. The factors that affect how much change a lip lift does to the upper lip is the amount or percent of upper lip skin distance that is excised as well as the natural elasticity of the upper lip tissues. Thus that really makes it impossible to compare lip lift results between patients as these two variables are not the same in any two patients. The most important factor is how much of the philtral length is horizontally removed
  3. A smile line vermilion edge resection can be done at the same time as an upper lip lift.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana