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My lips are too thin! My lips are too big! I want better lip proportion to balance my thin upper lip with my full lower lip. Whichever of these comments you can relate to, you will not feel alone after reading our most frequently asked questions about lips FAQ: Lips. We have combined dozens of questions including questions on fillers such as fat injections, dermal fat grafts, Alloderm and V-Y lip advancementfrom many patients over the years that were at one time considering a change just as you are now. If you are seeking information on the tiny lines around the mouth and lips, you will also find useful information at FAQ Dermabrasion and Skin Resurfacing. For nonsurgical procedures that enhance lip beauty see also Botox and Collagen.

Many patients want to eliminate a tired look or “frown” in the lip area. Some want to elevate the “saggy” corners of the mouth and restore a younger appearance. Other patients want to eliminate wrinkles around the lips so that lipstick doesn’t “run.” Most of all, patients want improvements in the lip area to look natural.

Lip augmentation and lip reduction are performed to restore a more naturally youthful appearance and less fatigued look while maintaining your unique features and natural facial animation. Once thought a beauty procedure sought by only wealthy women, men in today’s competitive corporate workplace are increasingly seeking cosmetic surgery to restore a younger look and soften the appearance of aging.

When discussing procedures that enhance the lip area, the best place to start is by looking at before and after photographs to see just what can be accomplished. As you will see in the photos, patients frequently ask to combine procedures such as liposuction to obtain fat to be used for fat injections in the lip area. If the corners of the mouth are a concern, a facelift or midface lift elevates “laugh lines” from their downward position and achieve a smoother contour of the jowl area. Many patients seek information about improving superficial wrinkles and imperfections in the skin around the lips with dermabrasion, chemical peel or laser resurfacing. Other requests to combine cosmetic surgery with lip surgery include blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), chin implants, cheek implants, rhinoplasty (nasal surgery), otoplasty (ear surgery) and browlift.

An experienced surgeon, knows that his responsibility is to evaluate not only the areas of concern but also the motivation behind the requests. It goes without saying, plumper lips won’t save a failing marriage. Some patients not ready for facial plastic surgery are better served with conservative measures, such as Botox for fine lines and wrinkles or Collagen for plumping lips and filling in tiny lines around the mouth. Patients who educate themselves about facial rejuvenation know when and if the time is right to proceed.

Whether you seek information on lip enhancement or lip reduction, preparation and aftercare for most all lip plastic surgery has many similarities. Lip augmentation and lip reduction are safe, effective procedures performed to restore a more youthful appearance. Once thought a beauty procedure sought by only wealthy women, men in today’s competitive corporate workplace are increasingly seeking cosmetic surgery.

At your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate the bony and soft tissue architecture as well as the form and function of the head and neck. An overall assessment of the face provides the basis for what one may expect from lip surgery. Skin type, ethnic background and age, along with the degree of deformity and function are important factors influencing the outcome of surgery.

As with all facial plastic surgery, a thorough health assessment and realistic expectations are prerequisites. Your understanding of procedures and routines is essential to a successful final result.


At your preoperative appointment our nurse will provide all the instructions for you to follow before and after surgery. On the business day prior to your operation we ask you to call to confirm your arrival time for surgery. Upon arrival for your surgery, you will talk with a nurse (who will start an IV), discuss local anesthesia with IV sedation (you will be asleep and comfortable for your surgery), and meet with your doctor before going to the operating room. Most lip procedures can be done with local anesthesia under IV sedation so you are asleep and comfortable at all times during the procedure. Lip surgery takes between one to two hours depending on the amount of change desired. If you are having a combination of procedures your surgery time will take longer. Recovery from the anesthetic takes about an hour and most patients are discharged about four to five hours from the time of admission.


  1. Please avoid any aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or ibuprofen for one week prior to and two weeks following your surgery. See our “Medication List” for products to avoid prior to surgery. If you are on any medications that affects bleeding (such as coumadin or warfarin) please notify the office immediately.
  2. Please refrain from tobacco products and alcohol for one week prior and three weeks following surgery. Along with delayed wound healing, persistent skin redness and other complications may persist when tobacco and alcohol are not discontinued.
  3. Please notify us of all routine medications and significant health history including any history of “cold sores.” We ask that you remain on your daily medications unless instructed otherwise. At the preoperative appointment, our nurse will tell you which daily medications to take with just a sip of water on the morning of surgery.
  4. At your preoperative appointment you will be given prescriptions for use following surgery including an oral antibiotic and pain medications. Please obtain these prescription medications before your surgery so you will have them ready for use after surgery.
  5. We will also ask you to take Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which helps promote healing, before and after surgery.
  6. You may not eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure unless instructed otherwise. You may brush your teeth. Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not follow these instructions.
  7. Remove all make-up and nail polish before arriving for your procedure.
  8. However, someone must be available at all times while you are here at the clinic for surgery. Someone will need to drive you home after your surgery and stay with you that evening. Transportation to the office for packing removal the day following surgery is also required.


When you wake up from surgery you will notice that your lips are very swollen. This swelling will subside over the next two weeks. There will be ointment on your lips to keep them moist. If you had lip augmentation, you may have a small dressing on the “donor” site where the “filler” was obtained. Following your lip procedure, the nurses will ask assist you to meet the discharge criteria: to drink liquids, walk with a steady gait, void, manage your discomfort, and monitor your wounds. The nurses will review all instructions you will need for care following your lip procedure.

You will be asked to come to the office the following day after surgery for a check-up. If you have sutures, you will be asked to return through the office in five days for suture removal. Although most patients describe suture removal as discomfort rather than pain, you are encouraged to take your pain medication about an hour prior to suture removal.


Wound care

Keep your lips moist with the ointment as instructed. Keep any “donor site” dressings dry and intact the evening after surgery. Notify your doctor if the dressing becomes loose or falls off. Our nurses will instruct you on wound care. Cleaning the suture with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide and then applying the antibiotic ointment twice a day is an essential part of the healing process.


Most patients complain of discomfort more than pain. Use pain medication as directed/as needed. Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking pain medication. Taking pain medication with food helps minimize nausea sometimes associated with pain medications.

  • Start your antibiotic (Keflex/cephalexin) when you get home and one at bedtime. It is not uncommon to have a low-grade fever for 24 hours following surgery.
  • Start swelling medication (prednisolone) when you arrive home and at bedtime. Then follow package directions. Take with food.
  • Take Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which helps promote healing, before and after surgery. Take Arnica, a natural herb that significantly decreases bruising, as directed.


Avoid dairy products for five days following lip surgery. Advance diet from liquids to soft food (oatmeal, French toast, soup, pasta) to your regular diet as tolerated.


Rest for entire day after surgery. Sleep with head of the bed elevated or use two to three pillows for one week after surgery. Absolutely no bending, lifting or straining. If you have little children, bend at the knees or sit on the floor and let them climb on to your lap. No driving for one week following surgery. Two weeks off work is recommended.

After 24 hours, keep incisions dry except for cleaning and ointment. Bathing is ok as long as you don’t get your incisions wet. You are encouraged to shower and wash your hair in the morning before coming for suture removal (usually postop day five). Bruising can be camouflaged at one week postoperatively with make-up. Always protect your face from the sun. At this point, a hat and sunglasses are a good idea. Following surgery, our staff will tell you when it is ok to apply sunscreen, cosmetics or facial creams. Avoid unprotected prolonged sun exposure for three months following lip procedures to prevent pigmentation of incision lines.


Your first postoperative appointment will be on the next morning following surgery. Sutures will be removed approximately five days following your surgery. You will need transportation to and from these appointments. For the first ten days following surgery, please use our private side entrance (driveway entrance).

Please Remember!

Swelling, bruising and disrupted sleep are very normal postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing process occurs. Assistance with daily activities the first two to three days after surgery is strongly recommended.

Final Result

Following lip procedures, it takes time for the swelling to subside and for the skin to heal. Most patients return to work two weeks following surgery, however three weeks is ideal, depending on the degree of privacy one is trying to maintain. At three weeks postoperatively, swelling and bruising may be apparent to you but not to many of your coworkers and closest friends.

Final results following a lip procedure are not apparent for one full year following surgery. After three months, the changes are ever so subtle, although still important. Being perfectionists about our work, you may tell us you are pleased long before the one year anniversary. However, we request that you follow-up with us at that time for postoperative photographs and so that we can enjoy your final result.

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