The ‘Lip Flip” is a simple procedure using a neuromodulator such as Botox® or Dysport® to “lift” and “flip” the upper and lower lips to enhance their appearance and mimic the effect of a filler. The orbicularis oris muscle surrounds the upper and lower lips and works as a sphincter muscle, pulling the lips inward and tightly together as well as allowing the lips to pucker. By relaxing the muscle, the lips naturally appear fuller and plump. The lip flip will soften the fine vertical lines around the mouth and can improve the appearance of a gummy smile.
Am I A Candidate?
Patients may opt for a lip flip if they are not ready to have a filler treatment or to get a preview of what filler may look like. The lip flip will not change the natural shape of the lip so it is perfect for patients desiring a very natural appearance. The procedure is quick with less downtime than filler and can be added on during a typical Botox® or Dysport® treatment visit. It is also less expensive than filler, but the effects will typically last 6 weeks so repeated treatments are necessary to maintain results. Due to the relaxation of the orbicularis oris mucle, some patients may experience some temporary functional change when speaking or eating that is not noticeable to others and resolves spontaneously.
Fillers have long been used to enhance the volume, contour and shape of the lips and perioral area. Typically, fillers placed in the lip are composed of hyaluronic acid, which is a natural hydrator found in the skin and other areas of the body. Because filler attracts and retains water, it creates a soft and natural fullness in the lips, and depending on which filler is used, can last 6-9 months or longer.
How Long Is The Downtime?
There is some social downtime necessary to accommodate any swelling or possible bruising that may result from treatment. Filler treatments also take a bit longer than a lip flip since the provider is shaping and sculpting the lips to augment the appearance and create symmetry. Topical anesthetic and the application of an ice pack reduces discomfort during treatment and can mitigate swelling and bruising. Patients should plan for a few days of social downtime after treatment and the final lip volume will be realized after about one week.
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Patients may opt to have both a lip flip and filler if they wish to address several concerns simultaneously. In the case of a patient with fine vertical lip lines, have noticed their lips have lost volume with time, combining the two procedures will have a synergistic affect and provide a global aesthetic improvement to the perioral area.
Dr. Deschamps-Braly is a board-certified plastic and craniofacial surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and craniofacial surgery for adults and children. He is also one of the world’s foremost leaders and innovators in facial gender confirmation surgery.