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Cupid's Bow Lip Lift

How we perceive someone's face depends on many factors - their eyes, their facial shape, their nose and also their mouth. Our facial proportions are directly linked with our overall facial appearance, as well as being key in determining beauty.

One very subtle area that is often not immediately obvious is our upper lip. A well proportioned upper lip that is well balanced with the lower lip, and positioned appropriately with respect to the nose is attractive and youthful.

By contrast, part of the ageing process in all of us results in a gradual increase in the distance between nose and mouth, lengthening the skin of the upper lip. At the same time, the upper pink lip starts to thin and invert, eventually ending up being a fine line of pink lip that has all but disappeared.

Therefore, in those of us who have naturally developed facial features that result in a disproportionately long nose-mouth distance, particularly if also associated with a thin upper pink lip, the impression tends to be “unaesthetic” , no matter our age.

The Cupid's Bow Lip Lift has been developed by plastic surgeons to rebalance facial proportions and rejuvenate the lower face. When performed in expert hands, it leaves a subtle scar that is almost imperceptible, and easily hidden with make-up. The scar runs around the nostril creases, into the nostrils, and crosses the small bridge of skin between the nostrils, where it meets the upper lip.

So, who is a good candidate for a Cupid's Bow Lip Lift?

As described above, the Cupid's Bow Lip Lift is ideal to subtly rejuvenate the ageing lower face, and is also an excellent procedure to use to improve facial proportions in those who have naturally developed a long nose to mouth distance.

What about lip fillers?

The most common way to enhance the lips remains hyaluronic acid lip filler (aka dermal fillers, or just fillers). In fact, we would usually recommend most people try lip fillers to see if they can produce a desired result before proceeding to surgery, as lip fillers are temporary, and surgery cannot be undone if the outcome does not meet your expectations. However, many people who undergo lip lifts have tried lip fillers and have been disappointed with the results. Furthermore, whilst lip fillers will enhance and restore fullness to the upper lip, they will not reduce the nose to mouth distance in the way a Cupid's Bow Lip Lift will.

What is involved in the procedure?

The local anaesthetic:
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic (with you awake) at Purity Bridge, the multi-award winning clinic in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Gentle dental injections are given (in the same way as you might have at the dentist). These are given inside the mouth, which is relatively painless. Once these have taken effect, further injections are given into the skin that is to be removed (this would be very painful if the dental injections were not given beforehand).

The design of the skin removed:
Everyone's lips and facial shape is different of course, so there has to be flexibility and tailoring of the design of a lip lift. The typical pattern is akin to a bullhorn (so often referred to as a bullhorn lip lift), or similar to the batman logo. If the lip needs more lift in the middle, directly above the cupids bow, then this can be incorporated in the design. Likewise, if more lateral lift is needed, then this can be accommodated too.

The procedure itself:
Once the design has been formulated and the anaesthetic is in place, the procedure can begin (after sterilising the area and placing appropriate surgical drapes). The pre-planned skin pattern is removed and the skin is released in the lower margins of the wound, from the underlying muscle. Three to five carefully placed deep stitches of strong material are then placed. These are the key stitches to holding the lip lift in place. The important aspect of these stitches is to ensure they are placed in strong deep tissue at the base of the nose, so they act as anchors to support the lifted lip. Placing skin stitches alone might give rise to future poor scar positioning and widening. Once these are in, multiple small fine skin stitches are placed. At the end, tapes are placed which remain in place for a week.

What to expect in the first week after a Cupid's Bow Lip Lift:
Everyone needs to be prepared for significant lip swelling in the first few days after surgery. For some people, if they are not prepared, this can be alarming. However, by the end of the week, the majority of the significant swelling has settled. At day 6 or 7 after surgery, you will have the stitches removed and the wounds re-taped. In order to achieve the best scars possible, it is important to have the stitches removed at this time, to avoid stitch marks. However, with such a mobile area of the face, the wounds are delicate. This is why it is also important to re-tape the wounds following stitch removal. These tapes can normally be removed at the end of the second week after surgery.

What happens next:
We often describe the next few weeks as ones in which you have “lost your smile”. What we mean is that due to residual swelling in the tissues of the upper lip, the upper lip does not move in a completely supple and natural way when you smile. This resolves and between 4 and 6 weeks after surgery the swelling will usually have settled to allow your mouth to move completely normally. That said, this is something you will be aware of more than something anyone else will notice. The scar will become red over this period before it starts to lose its colour, much like any other scar on the body.

How long before make-up can be worn to hide the scar?
Usually it is ok to wear concealer to hide the scar 2-weeks after surgery. Over time, as the scar fades, the aim is that make-up need not be worn as the scar settles down subtly.

Can there ever be issues with the scar?
As for any scar on the body, some people produce unaesthetic scars. This may be due to thickening of some parts of the scar or due to stretch of the scar. Depending on how the scar settles down, further treatments can sometimes be indicated. These may include steroid injections to flatten a lump that has appeared in the scar, or occasionally scar revision to a widened area of the scar. However these are only necessary in the minority of cases.

Can I have lip filler injections after a Cupid's Bow Lip Lift?
The short answer is yes. There is no problem with having filler injections after your lip has been lifted. It is hoped, however, that any future filler injections will require far less filler than previously, after the lip has been lifted and turned out.

What do patients say about their Cupid's Bow Lip Lift?

I couldn't be happier with the result! This one small procedure has made such a huge difference in many ways. My lips now look so much fuller and have a really natural shape; my top lip also doesn't completely disappear when I smile anymore. It's made such a difference to my confidence and I now love my smile and smile a lot more than I used too, many of my friends and family have pointed that out too. The scar is healing really well, it's so neat and barely visible and I massage it with bio oil every night to help with the healing process.

I'm very happy with the results. I love having fuller lips and the natural look!

Read about some patient experiences here:

Lip Lift Diary - 1
Lip Lift Diary - 2

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