Lip Lift

As we age, the distance between the base of the nose to the upper lip border lengthens due to gravity, ligament laxity and the changes that are occurring in the teeth and mid facial skeleton. A long upper lip can make you look older than you are. A lip lift shortens the upper lip to create a younger look with better facial harmony.

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The Surgery

Some people are born with a vertically long upper lip, but most people develop a long upper lip with age. A vertically long upper lip results in a less ready show of the upper incisor teeth with talking and smiling. Youthful people tend to have upper incisor teeth show with smiling and talking, whereas older people develop less and less incisor show. This is not corrected by adding fat or filler to the lip line of the upper lip or the vermilion (red part) of the upper lip , as this does not shorten the long lip, or increase incisor teeth show.

It looks fresh and youthful to shorten the upper lip to restore a youthful relationship of the lips to the nose and mouth and to restore youthful dental show, when smiling and talking.

A lip lift is customised to your individual needs, and Dr Nettle generally performs a modified lip lift (MLL) which combines all of the best features of several styles of lip lift surgery.

The Procedure

The lip lift procedure can be performed under a light general anaesthetic as a day surgery procedure (home the same day). The lip lift procedure is performed in our rooms as a standalone procedure under local anaesthetic and oral sedation. The procedure takes approximately one and a half hours when done as an isolated procedure.

Often lip lift is done in combination with a facial rejuvenation procedure such as a facelift or eyelid surgery. Some people desire a fuller upper lift, which can be achieved by transferring fat from another area of the body in the same procedure, or by advancing lip mucosa surgically. Due to recent innovations and changes to incision placement, the procedure has become much more reliable, natural looking and long lasting.

There are no bandages or dressings applied to the lips. Washing and showering are encouraged as soon as desired. At the end of your procedure you will be given an antibiotic ointment to apply to the incision lines three times a day. Most people having the lip lift procedure are back at work after 7 – 10 days.

The Recovery

Lip lift surgery is a day surgery procedure. For the first week it is sensible to avoid excessive mouth movement such as vigorous chewing, talking and smiling. A soft, non-chew diet such as protein smoothies, soups and purees is recommended. Bruising and swelling are minimal and pain is minimal-to-nonexistent. Stitches are removed at postoperative day six in the office. Most people are back at work after 2 weeks. Avoid vigorous mouth movements – such as biting into an apple, or big sudden smiles for three or four weeks.


Those who are born with long lips are suitable for surgery at any age. Most people develop lengthening of the upper lip with age and lip lift surgery is frequently performed in those aged between 40 to 70.

The lip lift surgery is done either in our rooms as a standalone procedure with oral sedation and local anaesthetic, or in an accredited hospital or day-stay facility under light general anaesthetic or sedation.

A lip lift is a permanent procedure and will not need to be done again.

Recent innovations in lip lift surgery have allowed most of the incisions to be hidden in the creases at the base of the nose and inside the nostrils. These incisions become very difficult to see with time and the changes in the surgery have made this a very much more reliable and less obvious procedure.

There are no Medicare rebates as a lip lift is a cosmetic procedure.

Stitches are removed on postoperative day six. There are sometimes some dissolving sutures inside the nostrils which will dissolve in their own time.

Follow up appointments will be determined by you and Dr Nettle.

Regular appointments are made to check that you have reached your aesthetic goals and that your scars and contour are continuing to improve.

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Lip Lift