An upper lip lift in Washington DC is an advanced technique performed by Dr. Michael Somenek. This is a surgical procedure that corrects and reshapes the appearance of the upper lip to enhance the vermilion border and overall volume of the lip. It effectively shortens the space between the top of the lips and the bottom of the nose.
Goals of this procedure are to:
- Give the lips a more proportionate smile
- Improve the shape and length of the lips
- Improve the symmetry and overall balance of the lips
- Reduce the signs of aging around the mouth
- Shorten the length of the upper lip between the nose and mouth
- Improve the corners of the mouth
What happens to the upper lip as we age?
The lip is not immune to the aging process. As we age, there are certain aspects of the perioral region that are affected by this. Most notably, the cutaneous upper lip(the part that goes from the upper lip border to the base of the nose) elongates which makes the actual red lip less and less visible. People that have an elongated cutaneous upper lip are the most ideal candidates for this procedure, independent of their age, ethnicity, or skin type. The other changes that can occur are loss of volume within the lips themselves which can frequently be addressed with filler.
What is involved in the upper lip lift?
A local upper lip lift usually takes about an hour to perform and is done in an outpatient setting. It is frequently performed under local anesthesia which numbs the area for maximal comfort. Dr. Somenek artistically designs the incision around the natural contours at the base of the nose so it is maximally concealed. The incision never goes further than these natural creases and once it is healed most consider it barely visible. Most patients find it difficult to even notice the healed incision.
During the procedure, a strip of excess skin is removed to shorten the upper lips vertical length. Dr. Somenek addresses all layers of tissue down to the actual muscle in order to relieve tension and provide the best lip lift possible. He then secures the tissue layers to the nasal base which ensures a stable, long-lasting result that doesn’t alter the shape of the nose or the nostrils.
Is the upper lip lift combined with other procedures?
Dr. Somenek recommends the upper lip lift with many other facial rejuvenation procedures. This can be combined with facelift, blepharoplasty, or skin resurfacing laser treatments. The most common procedure that Dr. Somenek combines with upper lip lift is a rhinoplasty. When people are looking to address the cosmetic appearance of their nose, the upper lip is intimately involved in the analysis of this area. If it is elongated and not proportionate, Dr. Somenek will suggest an upper lip lift to create harmony amongst these facial subunits.
Does an upper lip lift affect my smile?
The upper lip lift that is designed by Dr. Somenek will give you a more balanced and relaxed smile. The goal is to provide a more proportionate smile, with a natural, balanced look. It is not likely that this procedure will worsen a gummy smile.
How long does it take to heal from an upper lip lift?
Healing time and surgical downtime are two different things. During the first week, the downtime that patients will experience includes swelling and potentially bruising to the upper lip. Sutures are removed along the nasal base at one week and at that point the incision is already healing quite nicely. At around 10 days patients can start to apply light powder or makeup to the area to conceal the pink appearance of the incision. It may take up to two weeks for most of the swelling to subside, although most are looking and feeling great at one week. Many return back to work and normal daily activities at this point.
It is completely normal for the upper lip to feel stiff and not back to normal yet. This is where the healing aspect comes into play. Over the course of 6-8 weeks, healing within the deeper layers will continue to occur as the scar matures and the tissues soften internally. This is no different than a cut or incision on any other part of the body and the natural tissues response to healing. To aid in the healing process, Dr. Somenek has a specific protocol for his patients to follow including a scar gel and optional LED treatments which optimize the appearance of the scar, making it even more imperceptible to even the keen observer.
Are there any risks associated with a Washington DC upper lip lift procedure?
As with any procedure, there are always risks involved. Some of the risks to be aware of are excessive scarring, nasal distortion, asymmetries and imbalance, infection, and excessive excision. As an experienced double board certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Somenek has an in-depth understanding of the facial anatomy and always takes extra steps to markedly reduce the risks associated with this procedure.
What if I already have filler in my lips? Do I need to dissolve them?
If you have filler in your upper lip, Dr. Somenek will recommend dissolving the filler around two weeks prior to your upper lip lift procedure. The reason for this is that he wants to get you to a new baseline to accurately assess how much of the upper lip needs to be lifted. Failure to dissolve the filler may cause an under-correction as the filler will continue to break down over time and cause an elongation of the upper lip.
Will I still need fillers after an upper lip lift?
As with any part of the face, a lifting procedure addresses skin laxity and produces a long-lasting result. However, the aging process doesn’t stop and you will slowly continue to see signs of aging on your face, including the lip region. Over time, you may notice subtle volume loss that will need to be addressed in the form of filler. Although, you should need much less filler than you would normally need if you hadn’t done the upper lip lift.