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By raising the upper lip, the surgery works to bring your features into proportion for a lifted, youthful smile, without the need for synthetic fillers.

The surgery will be tailored to your needs and ideals in order to achieve an excellent outcome.

What is an Upper Lip Lift?

The space between the nose and the upper lip is called the philtrum. During a lip lift, Dr Richardson shortens the length of the philtrum to create a more youthful appearance. This surgery can improve the shape and position of the lip without creating the over-inflated lip look that can sometimes result from fillers. In addition, the surgery:

  • Improves facial proportion
  • Reduces vertical age lines
  • Lifts a long or downturned top lip
  • Reduces a “bottom-teeth” smile
  • Shortens a sagging or elongated philtrum
  • Creates the appearance of a fuller lip

What to Expect During Your Consultation

Before your upper lip lift surgery, you will need to have an initial meeting to discuss your goals for surgery. During this appointment, we will ask you about your health and any past procedures you have had. As well as this, you should raise any medical conditions or current medications, as this will help us ensure you are a good candidate. We will then develop a surgical treatment plan tailored to your needs and goals. After this, you should have a greater idea of what to expect from your surgery, including both before and after.

The Procedure

The upper lip lift is considered a minor surgery that can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. The most suitable type of anaesthetic for you will be discussed at your consultation.

This procedure is also referred to as “bullhorn” lift due to the curved shape of the incision. Dr Richardson makes an incision just below the nose, following the natural curve of the philtrum. He then lifts the skin strategically in order to achieve the desired shape. This process can achieve a subtle or dramatic change, depending on your goals and preferences. Dr Richardson will then remove the excess skin and close the incision.

The operation can take between 40 to 90 minutes to complete. Patients can typically go home once the anaesthetic has worn off.

Cost of an Upper Lip Lift

The fees for your lip lift surgery will depend on a number of factors. For example, we will need to consider the duration and extent of the procedure, as well as the cost of the anaesthesia. The techniques used can also have an impact on the overall fee. Due to the individual nature of the procedure, we can clarify the fees after having a personal discussion with you. This will allow us to take your individual needs into account.

Your Personal Consultation

Request a Consultation

Your personal consultation is the first step to finding the right procedure for you. Dr Jeremy Richardson is a highly skilled Specialist Plastic Surgeon, dedicated to providing quality results and a positive patient experience.

Book your appointment to
  • Discuss your physical concerns and goals
  • Receive an outline of your surgical options
  • Get quality advice from a Specialist Plastic Surgeon
  • Receive a customised treatment plan
  • Meet Dr Richardson’s Patient Coordinator and team who will support you through your journey


In the days afterwards, it is normal to have some minor bruising and swelling. These side effects are part of your body’s natural healing response and will usually begin to resolve after three or four days. Although recovery is slightly different for every patient, there are things you can do to optimise the healing process and encourage an optimal result. Dr Richardson will give you personalised at-home care advice, which may include instructions such as:

  • Get plenty of rest, especially in the first few days
  • Sleep with your head in an elevated position
  • Take prescribed pain medication
  • Limit your physical activity
  • Keep your incision site clean and dry
  • Avoid smoking as well as alcoholic drinks
  • Consume only soft, cold foods and liquids in the first 48 hours
  • Advise your doctor if you notice any adverse effects

Following these instructions will help reduce any scarring and post-surgery risks. After your incision site fully heals, the small scar will become barely noticeable. Generally, you can expect during your recovery:

  • Swelling and upper lip tightness
  • Resume eating normally after three to five days
  • Return to work a few days to a week after surgery
  • Resume light exercise after two to three weeks
  • Do not resume strenuous exercise until four weeks after surgery

Risks and Complications

Like every procedure involving incisions, upper lip lift surgery comes with some risks. If you are considering any surgery, it is important to understand the risks so that you can make an informed decision. The potential risks of with upper lip lift surgery include:

  • Bleeding and infection
  • Persistent pain and swelling
  • Stiffness or numbness
  • Reactions to anaesthesia
  • Damage to underlying tissues
  • Asymmetry
  • Unwanted results
  • Visible scarring
  • Revision surgery to treat issues

Although these risks are uncommon, they can occur. If you notice any adverse effects that do not resolve on their own, you should contact us or seek medical care as needed.

Upper Lip Lift FAQ

Will I have scarring after an upper lip lift?

When will I see the results?

How long is the recovery period?

How is a lip lift different from lip fillers?

What do I need to know when preparing for surgery?