Despite it being a major asset in interpersonal and social interactions, smiling was prohibited in photographs in the past. Thanks to the power of image and publicity, today the “toothy smile” became the subject of every photograph for it is synonymous to happiness, healthiness, and well-being. However, having perfect teeth is not enough to expose the perfect smile. Indeed, lips are as well important in achieving a complete smiling look.
At rest, the upper lip uncovers superior incisal edges of about two (2) millimetres. Some people have a large philtrum (the area extending from the upper lip to the nose), which renders upper teeth invisible even in full smile. The latter gives the face a sad and aging appearance with droopy labial commissures and an unbalance between the upper lip and the lower lip. The ideal solution to remediate the latter is the procedure of lip-lift or lifting of the lips.
What is lip-lift sugergy?
With age, the upper lip may lose volume, become longer, and may possibly cover the superior teeth when smiling. By getting lip-lift surgery, the distance between the base of the nose and the upper lip will be reduced. The procedure will also augment the fullness of the upper lip and enhance the visibility of the teeth.
Lip-lift surgery can be performed within rejuvenating facial surgery or orthognathic surgery either to optimize the results of dento-prosthetic treatment, or to achieve a well proportionate and young-looking face (profiloplasty).
How is lip-lift surgery performed?
Lip-lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia and lasts for an hour or so. If the procedure is performed as part of complete facial surgery, then the patient will go under general anaesthesia and will be hospitalized for 24h.
Lip-lift surgery consists in removing five (5) to nine (9) millimetres of skin through an incision made underneath the nose.
The procedure associates two surgical acts: lifting skin slackening and reducing the length between the upper lip and the nose:
- The gull-wing lip-lift: this technique accentuates the patient’s lip colour by removing excess skin under the nose. It alters the shape of the lip by moving up its red portion and increasing its fullness.
- Corner lip-lift: excess tissue is removed through incisions made on the edge of the upper lip to lift the lips up. Scars are situated in the external edge of the upper lip.
Discomfort when eating is expected during the first days following surgery. The patient will also experience moderate pain, which will be alleviated with antalgics prescribed by the doctor.
Bruising and swelling are also expected in the upper lip area, but both will fade away after a week. Results will refine after several weeks to a more appreciable outcome.
Definitive results are visible after three months. The lips look younger and fuller permitting the patient to draw a “toothy smile” on their face. Post-operative scarring is minor and is generally concealed in the natural folds of the mouth.