A lip lift is a plastic surgery procedure that shortens the distance between the top border of the upper lip and the bottom (base) of the nose. It creates a fuller, younger looking top lip by increasing the amount of “pink lip” and better exposing teeth when smiling and speaking.

The lip lift will result in a more pleasing appearance to the face. Look at the ‘before and after’ photo above and you can see that the patient has a more youthful and pleasant expression following the surgery. A lip lift can indeed even transform your overall expression.

The key to a successful lip lift are the pre-op surgical markings. This post aims to help patients understand what the markings represent.


My lip lift technique involves skin only and does not include manipulation or transection of muscle. I believe that involving the muscle  introduces an unnecessary risk of injury to nerves. The ‘skin only’ technique achieves a consistent, dependable,  and desirable outcome.  In addition, since the procedure involves skin only, there is extremely little risk in changes to how your lips, mouth, and nose move following the surgery.

Over the past few years I have seen a number of patients whose lip liftwas performed by other surgeons with techniques involving the muscle. Some of these patients had complications which are difficult to correct. By using the ‘skin only’ technique, I have not encountered these complications.  For this reason, I am a firm believer of the ‘skin only’  technique.


lip lift markings pre-opPrior to starting a lip lift procedure, I spend time with the patient reviewing and discussing the amount of tissue to be removed and the surgical plan.

I use markings to make sure the final result is symmetric, reducing the space between the upper lip and the base of the nose by the same exact amount along the entire length of the upper lip. Based on patient input and our review of the plan, I make surgical markings between the nose and the upper lip as we sit in front of a mirror together.

I use markings to make sure the final result is symmetric.

The markings that I make are fairly detailed.  If you don’t know what to expect, it might be  a little overwhelming.  For this reason I decided to make a short video clip of the surgical markings done on a  patient. This patient below was being prepped for an upper lip lift and after completing the surgical plan markings, she graciously allowed me to take this quick video to explain the pre-op markings. Hopefully this video will help patients understand the markings and be more confident that these markings are part of the normal process.

For this particular patient, the surgical plan was to have the final distance from bottom of nose to top of upper lift vermillion (the red part) equal to 1.2 cm.


These are my markings for a lip lift.
The first marking is where the nose meets the lip, and this is a natural line so it is very easily hidden.
The other markings are for normal anatomic structures, like the philtrum . . . these are the two little columns in here, and I want to line them up as they go into the nose.
Last, we film [measure] the same distance all over, from here to here to here to here to here – and it creates this pattern called the moustache pattern.
The distance on this patient was 1.2 centimeters.

So there you have an explanation of my pre-op markings for a lip lift!

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