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What is a Gull Wing Upper Lip Lift?

Upper lip anatomy photo


Most of the time when someone thinks of making their lips look better with a procedure they mean dermal fillers, such as Juvederm Ultra, Sculptra, Restalyne, or another hyaluronic acid derivative. But that’s not the only thing you can do to the lips to make them look more youthful, uplifted, feminine, and beautiful. In fact, the “gull wing” (or some say “bullhorn” or “Italian”) lip lift might be the best way to achieve many of the same objectives of lip augmentation without filler, which means it will last. Instead of adding volume alone, the gull wing lip lift can elevate the delicate skin of the upper lip towards the base of the nose with removal of skin and the subcutaneous tissue under the nose. The procedure thus moves the skin of the upper two-thirds of the lip to the base of the nose, or what’s referred to as the base of the ala and columella. If done with care, the features of the upper lip that make it attractive and distinguished, such as the philtrum, Cupid’s bow shape, and the white roll are all preserved with no loss of definition. Lip filler can still be used in combination with a gull wing lip lift, which would simply add that much more fullness, but unlike dermal filler, the effects of the gull wing lip lift last indfinately.

There are actually predictable ratios for upper lip attractiveness relative to the lower lip and other elements of facial anatomy. Some people have longer upper lips than others, which can sometimes conceal the upper front teeth when smiling. These are the patients who typically respond best to an upper lip lift. Some of the changes one can expect with a gull wing lip lift are:

  • Slightly upturned upper lip
  • A semblance of greater fullness of the upper lip
  • A more “pouty” upper lip contour when relaxed
  • Increased exposure of the upper front teeth with smiling
  • Youthful appearance of a shorter upper lip
  • More feminine upper lip characteristics

If you are interested in an upper lip lift, remember that this procedure requires surgery in an operating room and you should expect some recovery time. A gull wing lip lift is usually performed by a surgeon with advanced training in plastic and reconstructive surgery or other specific facial surgery expertise. The procedure can be performed as an outpatient in an ambulatory surgical center under light sedation or even only local anesthetic with nerve blocks to the upper lip and nose. A more youthful and improved upper lip appearance can be achieved with this subtle but impactful procedure.

If you would like to learn more about a gull wing upper lip lift, simply email Info@PacificSoundPlasticSurgery.com to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Kristopher M. Day, MD, FACS. Dr. Day has specialized training in facial surgery and is interested in learning more about your goals to make your lips look their best!

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