Researchers in China say they have created an innovative method for carrying out an upper-lip lift.
Because lips are a prominent facial feature that age along with the rest of the face, microsurgery for upper-lip lifts is gaining in popularity. One reason, write the authors, is the procedure’s minimal trauma and rapid recovery.
The five-member research team — all from the department of plastic surgery at Sun Yat-sen University, Huizhou, China — designed a study, the inclusion criteria for which required patients to:
- Have a significant distance between the labiale superius and stomion
- Have a 50 to 60 degree upper lip angle
- Be younger than 60 years of age
- Show preference for and request to undergo the procedure
From January 2009 to March 2013, 30 female patients underwent the procedure. The patients received local anesthesia for a regional block of the infraorbital nerve. Surgeons excised a T-shaped orbicularis oris and a strip of skin, sutured the superior edge of the orbicularis oris muscle to the base of the nose, and closed the incision with a continuous intradermal suture. Postoperative follow-up time ranged from 1 to 5 years.
Their Lip-Lift Results
The researchers report that the incisional scar was not visible at follow-up. The nasolabial angle averaged about 96 degrees before the procedure and just over 88 degrees after, a statistically significant difference. The upper lip angle was about 65 degrees before surgery and about 52 degrees after, also a statistically significant difference.
Three of the 30 patients experienced redness and swelling of the incision 2 to 3 days after surgery, but none experienced dehiscence, bleeding or hematoma in the postoperative early phase. Most patients had scarring early on, but the scars had disappeared 2 to 3 months after surgery. Two patients had incisional scarring at the time of long-term follow-up; these patients underwent scar-revision surgery and postoperative treatment to prevent further scarring. The authors report no other complications.
“Our T-shaped excision of the orbicularis oris muscle was characteristically different from the other reported methods,” the authors write. “By excising the muscle vertically and not excising the surface skin, we projected the philtrum, causing the philtral groove to become visible. Though our ability to elevate the corners of the mouth was limited, decreasing the upper angle diminished the effect of aging. Because of our innovative technique and the quality of the sutures, no serious complications occurred.”
The study was published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal.