You’ve probably heard the expression “long in the tooth” – but how about long in the lip? According to a recent study, lip shortening surgery has been getting short shrift from many plastic surgeons, despite its many benefits. In fact, many argue, it fills a valuable niche in the world of facial rejuvenation.
Lip shortening will be getting a lot more attention, now that study author John E. Gatti, MD, is presenting his latest findings at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference this week. He proposes that this procedure – also known as the lip lift – should be offered more widely.
When most people think of lip enhancement surgery, what likely comes to mind is lip augmentation. This procedure basically involves restoring volume that is lost during the aging process. There are several different approaches that plastic surgeons use to restore volume to the lips, including:
- Injectable Fillers. Restylane, Juvederm, and similar products can be used to plump up the lips without the need for surgery.
- Facial Fat Grafting. This procedure uses your own natural body fat to add volume to your lips.
- Facial Implants. Using small implants made from solid, durable silicone, many surgeons are able to permanently augment the appearance of the lips.
However, volume isn’t everything. According to Dr. Gatti, “the length of the upper lip increases with age, and this is associated with thinning of the lip and insufficient coverage of the upper teeth.” As a result of this thinning, the delicately sculpted appearance of the youthful lip is ruined.
Lip shortening surgery is able to restore the youthful shape of lips by removing a small strip of skin at the base of the nose. This allows the plastic surgeon to draw back the skin and shorten the appearance of the lips. Dr. Gatti study, which examined 166 lip lifts over a period of 22 years, found that most patients felt their facial appearance had been improved by the procedure.
But this procedure isn’t for everyone, cautions Dr. Gatti. According to the study, 26 percent of the patients required revision surgery, mostly for minor scar irregularities. This procedure involves treating delicate, highly visible areas. As a result, small imperfections can be magnified.