Dr. Scott Thompson, top plastic surgeon in Utah, discusses when to consider a lip lift and how the procedure is performed on Good Things Utah with Nicea DeGering.
Nicea: You’ve heard about lip fillers but have you heard of a lip lift? Board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Scott Thompson, is here from Utah Facial Plastics to fill us in on this procedure. You and I have a talked a lot and this is something I’ve never heard you talk about. What is a lip lift?
Dr. Thompson: A lip lift is simply shortening the distance between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip. We always talk about filler and a lot of people come into my office because they are nervous about filler because we’ve all seen so many lips that are overdone. And a lot of times what is trying to be achieved with that is this youthful looking lip but if this distance here from the bottom of the nose to the top of the lip is long, no amount of filler will make that look youthful so that distance needs to be shortened a little bit.
Nicea: So sometimes that distances happens genetically and sometimes it happens with aging?
Dr. Thompson: Exactly, as we age we lose a lot of the collagen and a lot of the structure in our lips and so the lip gets longer. Sometimes you’ll notice it with a person that’s a bit older, when they’re smiling you can’t see their upper teeth at all and that’s sort of an aging feature and this procedure is designed to address that.
Nicea: That’s so interesting. Maybe there’s something about your mouth that’s bothering you and you don’t know what it is and maybe it’s just that distance between the nose and that upper part of your lip?
Dr. Thompson: Yes, it’s often sometimes people come in and they don’t like and sometimes I suggest it to people and they’ve never noticed or thought about it. I’ve also had a few younger patients come in to me and say their upper lip is too long and recognize that and we can shorten it.
Nicea: Looking at the before and after, the upper lip almost looks plumper as well?
Dr. Thompson: Yes, and it’s not filler. It’s just shortening that distance and suddenly you can see the border much better and that’s just with a lip lift procedure.
Nicea: You said in the past you had to go along the lip line but you don’t do that anymore?
Dr. Thompson: This procedure isn’t necessarily new. It used to be done right at the upper red and white lip junction and there was a visible scar but now we make it under the nose and it can be hidden really well. Usually you can’t see the scar at all.
Nicea: Can this be done in combination with a facelift or can this be a stand alone procedure?
Dr. Thompson: A lot of times I’ll do it in combination with an age related procedure or sometimes with younger patients who genetically have a longer upper lip we’ll just do it as a stand alone procedure.
Nicea: What’s the recovery like?
Dr. Thompson: The recovery is simple. It’s something that’s just done in the office with a few stitches. There’s no downtime at all though there might be some bruising and stitches you need to take care of for a few days.
Nicea: So how do you know if you need lip filler for more fullness or if you need a lip lift?
Dr. Thompson: If you have thin lips, you probably need a little added fullness but if they also have a long upper lip, filler really won’t help that much. If you’re unsure, you can open your mouth a little bit you should sort of see a little bit of your teeth at rest and if you’re still unsure, come in and we can take a look at it and make a decision.
Nicea: Dr. Thompson is always so good about discussing your concerns with you. I know you and I discussed my thin upper and lower lip and I still wanted to look like myself.
Dr. Thompson: You have a thin upper lip but you have a short distance there and I can see your teeth at rest so that’s a really youthful feature you have. A little bit of filler just kind of naturally augments your structure.
Nicea: If you have questions, Utah Facial Plastics has the answers. Call (801) 776-2220 or visit www.utahfacialplastics.com for more information.