NEW ORLEANS – Ever hear of lip shortening or a lip lift?  Probably not.  But a new study suggests lip shortening surgery should be offered to patients, especially women, as a facial rejuvenation procedure. The new 22-year study is being presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual conference, Plastic Surgery The Meeting, October 26-30, in New Orleans.

"The length of the upper lip increases with age, and this is associated with thinning of the lip and insufficient coverage of the upper teeth,” said study author and ASPS Member Surgeon John E. Gatti, MD.

As people age, particularly women, the lip frequently lengthens and the sculpted look of the lip is lost, Dr. Gatti notes. Lip shortening surgery, or a lip lift, restores a youthful shape to the lip. The procedure involves removing a small strip of skin at the base of the nose. Lip asymmetry is addressed by adjusting the amount of skin removed.

Over a 22-year period, 166 lip lifts were performed.  The majority of patients reported a subjective improvement in facial aesthetics.  Forty-two patients (26 percent) required revision surgery.  Scar irregularities were relatively minor and were the most common reason for revision.  Scar irregularities were corrected (using basic cautery) in 30 (71 percent) of the 42 patients. Ten patients required direct removal of scar irregularities and eight patients had a second lip lift to improve results.

According to Dr. Gatti, the procedure may not be for everyone. Because of the delicate, highly visible areas treated during lip shortening, small imperfections may be magnified and correction can often be necessary. 

“Plastic surgeons should carefully discuss the pros and cons of lip shortening surgery with their patients,” said Dr. Gatti. “I’ve found that the procedure can require minor revisions to correct scarring. However, lip shortening surgery does improve facial aesthetics and should be utilized by plastic surgeons to treat the aging face.”

Dr. Gatti says lip shortening surgery had not been adopted by most plastic surgeons until ASPS Member Surgeon Harvey Austin, MD, first drew attention to the procedure in 1986.

The study, "Lip Shortening Surgery – Often Overlooked in Facial Rejuvenation,” is being presented Sunday, October 28, 11:25 a.m., at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Reporters can register to attend Plastic Surgery The Meeting or arrange interviews by contacting ASPS Public Relations at (847) 228-9900, media@plasticsurgery.org or in New Orleans, October 26-30, at (504) 670-4242.

About ASPS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. 

Contact ASPS

Media Relations
(847) 228-9900
media@plasticsurgery.org