Blanketing Instagram may be the pout of the moment: an ample, upturned mouth revealing front pearly whites. It’s a look that has generated a fresh trend in cosmetic surgery: the lip lift. “Social media is driving a whole lot of esthetic selections,” says Andrew Jacono, a Park Avenue cosmetic surgeon, but “the voluptuous lip is not something you may get with injections. Filling lips only makes them appear to be sausages but doesn’t change their condition. Only the upper lip lift can naturally turnthe lip up and out.” The 30-minute office procedure excises tissue from just underneath the nose to shorten the distance between nose and mouth, causing the top lip to relax a bit, exposing more teeth, or “tooth show.” In Gen Z’ers and young millennials, it gives an ideal selfie pout; in older candidates, it can shave up to 7 years from the countenance ($3,000-$10,000).
As upper lips age, they elongate to eventually hide the upper teeth, while lower lips drop to expose the bottom teeth. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Randal Haworth says lips, like breasts, go over time south. “When Angelina [Jolie] was 19, she had an insouciant mouth and had the Bardot upper tooth exposure ,” he says. “Nowadays her lip is starting to hide her teeth. It is the same with Jane Fonda.” Jacono offers that face-lifts improve the corners of the mouth but don’t address the problem: “Shortening the top lip is probably the most effective esthetic procedures I really do.”
Some surgeons will work with dentists to coordinate how much teeth to show.
“Showing 2 millimeters of tooth while you are at rest is ideal,says Manhattan esthetic dental professional Lana Rozenberg, who claims patients once requested heavier veneers to push away the lip for pout.
Now the Bugs Rabbit look can’t be avoided can be avoided, with surgeons just like NYC’s Oren Tepper working with esthetic dentist Jonathan Levine to open LipSync. “Ten years past, there was an ‘aha’ moment when hands were an era giveaway. Now we realize the mouth is a lot more telling, ” says Tepper.
There is one disadvantage to a lip lift; its scar. “You can hide part of the incision inside the nostrils, but there is usually always some visibility at the bottom edge of the nasal area, ” says Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Leif Rogers, adding “If not done properly, it can change the look of the nose. “
Dr. Haworth acknowledged this as a problem about 15 years ago, ever since patients began complaining of this subtle nasal change. He realized there were two factors playing a part in this:
Excess tension around the incision line where the upper lip attaches to the nose and …
When the incision is made into the nose in a good faith attempt to hide the scar.
This led him to evolve his methods as a necessity to meet the increasingly discerning tastes of his patients. “Cutting into the nasal still can be a disaster even though it is motivated by goodwill towards the patients. By cutting into the nose, it breaks the circular stability of the nostril itself thus allowing it to “unfurl” and migrate inferiorly.
Another thing I have discovered is that when a lip lift is performed, it mustn’t just resist the downward forces of gravity but it must also resist the hundreds of thousands of mouth movements that occur per day. That’s why I needed to develop the OOS Upper Lip Lift which involves securing the upper lip to the strong lining of the bone around the base of the nose (periosteum). This technique is clearly superior to any skin-only lip lift whether it is modified or not. This results in a superior results in terms of beauty, scarring, lack of nasal distortion and longevity.
When we choose to undergo a plastic surgical procedure, we do so to get a beautiful result which is balanced for the face and one that is as permanent as possible and one which doesn’t interfere with function.
I don’t think anyone would argue with the above.
Lips are a unique anatomical future. They connote youth, beauty and sexuality. However, their job is not only to look beautiful, they have to also function. This is contrast to a nose or an ear which have no moving parts.
And as a plastic surgeon helping to advance the field of lip reshaping surgery (LRS), this is where the challenge lays. When a patient asks me to make them a beautiful set of lips, I have to ensure:
a. A beautiful upper lip
b.A beautiful lower lip
c. Both upper and lower lips harmonize with each other
d.The harmonizing upper and lower lips harmonize with the surrounding face in terms of shape and scale (volume)
e.The upper and lower lips continue to harmonize well into the future (akin to a long-lasting result)
f. Scars are as imperceptible as they can be
g.The chance of nasal distortion and other complications are kept to a bare minimum
h.Lip function is retained (perhaps even improved with the new found confidence!)
i.Recovery is minimized whenever possible
j.A patient’s expectations are aligned with reality.
(Of course, “j.” should be at the top of the list. If a patient has unrealistic expectations, then no matter how successful a surgery is, if a patient in the end is dissatisfied, the surgery is a failure to them).
One of the cornerstones of lip reshaping surgery is the upper lip lift. Most of us appreciate that beauty is mostly conferred through shape and less so by colour and volume. The lips are no exception. An upper lip that is considered beautiful on a primal, instinctual level is one comprised of a short nose-to-lip distance, a beautiful “O” arch, a visible vermilion balanced with the size of the lower and, of course, an appropriate upper tooth exposure.
After performing thousands of upper, corner and lower lip lifts, the secret to unparalleled longevity and a naturally beautiful lip shape is stability. One must understand that, like the hands, the lips move hundreds of thousands of times a day- eating, talking, expressing and other things that shall go unmentioned in this post. Therefore, for an upper lip lift to be successful in terms of beauty and longevity, it should not only resist the downward pull of gravity but also be stabilized against everyday movement (which contributes to re-stretching of the lip, obvious wide scarring and downward pull on the nose).
The OOS (Orbicularis Oris Suspension) superficial muscle technique provides this very stabilization by anchoring the superficial layer of Orbicularis Oris just below the dermis to the periosteum (or lining of the bone) below the nose. (The Orbicularis Oris is the circumferential, sphincter muscle that surrounds the oral aperture).
By stabilizing the lip in two directions bilaterally I am able to customize the curl and expression of the upper lip to make it not only youthful but sensual as well. The two direction approach is analogous to the way a marionette can come to life by the hands and strings which control it.
The skin-only lip lift is a far simpler operation to perform and solely involves removing skin and sewing the skin edge of the lip to that of the bottom of the nose. The only thing holding the skin-only lip lift in position are the dissolvable stitches in the dermis which are no match against constant daily mouth movement and gravity’s pull. As a result, there is a far greater likelihood of the nostrils being pulled downwards, obvious scarring, significantly decreased longevity and suboptimal aesthetics.
I can personally attest to the dramatically decreased longevity, unremarkable results, worse scarring and nasal distortion from the thousand or so skin-only lip lifts I performed in the 90s. Though the skin-only recovery is easier, the current version of the OOS upper lip lift may allow the patient to appreciate results as early as 10 days. Not only does the OOS technique shorten the distance between the nose and lip but it also allows upper tooth show( that goes without saying really), subtle added rollout of the upper lip’s pink vermilion, welcomed narrowing of the aperture of the mouth (that gets wider with age) and even noticeable reduction in the nasolabial folds. Contrary to some misperceptions, no muscle is removed and no cases of permanent numbness or any paralysis ever encountered.
More and more people are realizing that the upper lip lift( and other LRS techniques) may play as important a role as a facelift and eyelid surgery in facial rejuvenation. Choosing proper techniques, performing them well and understanding how all elements of the lip work together can be the ultimate magic trick to transform a face from “Meh to Mwah”!
As trifling as it may seem to the layperson, aesthetic surgery is serious business. Apart from obvious cosmetic ramifications, the seriousness becomes understandable when one considers that the surgeon must first make a healthy patient temporarily unwell in order to make he or she look better in the end. It is for this very reason plastic surgeons have an added unique responsibility which surgeons of other specialties simply do not bear. Choosing to undergo elective surgery is a series of decisions made by both the surgeon and the patient. As with all aspects of medicine, nothing is absolute, it is about controlling probability.
In this day and age, patients increasingly view plastic surgery as nothing more than a haircut with a short recovery, let alone one with a complication. Even under the best of hands, a complication can arise for any number of reasons and if it does, acting as a team with your surgeon is crucial. Whether following a facelift, rhinoplasty or any plastic surgery for that matter, almost all complications can be fixed in the end, even if multiple surgical revisions are needed.
It is normal for the layman to consider surgical results as either “good” or “bad”, but those adjectives can be misleading and are certainly inadequate in revealing the true story behind the result.
“Good” surgery with a complication is not the same as “bad” surgery per se. In other words, complications do not all come from “bad” surgeons and indeed, “bad” surgeons may have successfully completed an operation without encountering obvious complications. I think it fair to say most patients consider themselves as good people and if a complication happens to them, they will perceive themselves as victims of a bad surgery and by extension, a bad surgeon. So what is the difference between “bad” surgery and a “good” surgery with a complication?
Look at it this way… in any profession, there are the “good”, the “bad” and the “excellent”. For the sake of this discussion, let’s just oversimplify the comparison between “good” and the “bad”. Since plastic surgery is as much an art (or at least an artisanal craft) as it is a science, whereby results are measured both objectively and subjectively, it is not unreasonable to compare a plastic surgeon to any artist or craftsman, including sculptors, painters and woodworkers. Artists filter their talent and vision through years of experience to not only earn but continually solidify their reputation as either being “good” or “bad”. Moreover, good artists become respected by not just producing one “good” piece but doing so consistently, whereas the “bad” consistently create sub par results as judged by the median consensus.
However, all artists, whether good or bad, are limited by the quality of material with which they work. It is known that Michelangelo’s David has been deteriorating at a far more rapid pace than would be expected because of the poor quality of its marble composition. Bernini also broke a piece of marble in half through chiseling into an unexpected vein in the stone causing him to start all over with a brand-new block. Does that make him a bad artist? Hardly not.
In other words, complications happen and that’s why there are consents to protect not only the doctor but also the patient. Consents should ensure the patients are informed as to the shared risk both they and the surgeon take when undergoing surgery.
Many complications are avoidable. Both doctors and patients must do their part to optimize a certain outcome and minimize the risk of complications. Patients must avoid certain medications that may promote bleeding, cease all smoking for optimal circulation, follow instructions and take medications as prescribed. Otherwise, surgery may be self-sabotaged. On the other hand, surgeons must do their part in educating and performing the proper operation in the right patient with skill and dedication.
Other complications are unavoidable and just because they may be explainable in hindsight does not mean they were avoidable within the context they occurred. This is why it is paramount that patients disclose all of their medical history and follow their surgeon’s instructions to a T in order to minimize unexpected situations such as abnormal bleeding, poor wound healing, etc..
What spurred me to write this particular blog was a recent experience having performed a complex revision rhinoplasty on a dear friend of mine of 20 years. Unfortunately, this advanced detailed nasal reconstruction was exacerbated by unexpected physiological conditions including excessive bleeding and poor tissue characteristics. The next day, the patient presented with so much swelling underneath the pressure cast that it was being pushed off the face. The swelling was a hematoma which I immediately evacuated from under the skin (it was 4 1/2 mL, being the largest nasal hematoma encountered by either my colleagues or myself). Accompanying this was necrosis (death) of the columellar skin (the partition separating his left and right nostrils). This was particularly disappointing to say the least because the surgical results in terms of nasal shape, symmetry, tip definition and projection were otherwise excellent. Yet losing coverage over the columella would have serious ramifications.
Despite attempts to bring vascularized tissue using local intraoral flaps, my friend eventually needed the help of a certain specialist to bring fresh tissue to the columella below the nasal tip with a temporary forehead flap.
Albeit exceedingly rare, this 1.5 x 1.2 cm skin loss was enough to eradicate not only their trust in me as a surgeon but also our long term friendship. Most patients understandably experience a spectrum of emotions including panic, sadness, denial, anger and ultimately acceptance from a complication such as this. However, nothing could prepare me for the degree of ongoing vengeful anger and hostility the patient and their partner have directed towards me including threats to go to the press and ruin my reputation.
Anger is not only destructive but also lacks focus, therefore it can be especially counterproductive to both healing and a good result (not to mention friendship!). Premature castigations of blame fuel brash, illogical decisions which actually complicate the original complication.
Understanding the differences between “bad” and “good” surgery and “good” surgery with a complication can certainly help put things in perspective. When a patient concedes the net surgical aesthetic result, at least in terms of shape and symmetry, as good if not excellent, he or she is less likely to question, and more likely trust, their original choice of surgeon. Whether their breast lift incision opened or, as in this case, a small but strategic portion of nasal skin died, the affected patient will see the “bigger picture” and believe their surgeon will do the right thing by having their best interests at heart. This same patient understands that they were not necessarily a victim or unjustifiably punished by “bad” surgery. Instead, they will accept things for what they are, learn patience and develop a sense of optimism to set themselves up for the best possible outcome in the future.
The majority of complications concern wound healing and minor infections. For these, possible antibiotics and the “tincture of time” for healing to occur are required. Other times, simple, clinical interventions such as laser treatment, injections, the occasional scar revision and creams are all that are needed.
Other complications require more invasive solutions. Depending on the type of complication, an expeditious trip to the operatory maybe all that is required (e.g.,to drain a hematoma) whereas staged surgical revisions may be undertaken in the extremely rare case of tissue loss.
Most surgeons will recognize if a particular complication is beyond their level of expertise. A patient should not feel abandoned or simply passed off if they are referred to another expert if a complication warrants it. It is important to recognize that medicine is team work and the referral is simply a reflection of the original surgeon’s dedication to the best outcome possible.
Emotional advice after a complication
–Watch out for advice with an agenda. It is understandable that if a complication does arise, fear and anxiety will prompt you to seek solace and advice from friends and family members. While this is wholeheartedly encouraged, it is important to remember that not all the advice given is good especially considering that those giving advice are not often doctors nor do they know the intricate details of the patient’s particular case. Though most advice is well-meaning in intent, some may be motivated by guilt, jealousy, personality disorders or just plain ignorance. Furthermore, the advice a patient may obtain from elsewhere may be counterproductive because it may only increase their level of anxiety.
–Stay optimistic and avoid jumping to any pessimistic conclusions. It is not unheard of that acute anxiety will provoke a patient to impatiently reach for the help of an alternative plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, some plastic surgeons may be unscrupulous and advise the fragile, highly suggestible patient into unnecessary and ill-timed surgery claiming it is urgently needed to prevent some permanent deformity. Always keep a line of communication open with the original plastic surgeon to not only help allay personal fears but also be guided in the right direction with a second opinion if necessary.
After more than two decades of commitment to delivering the best of what plastic surgery can deliver in terms of aesthetic results and quality-of-life improvement, top Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Randal Haworth, found it time to expand his philosophy into an adjacent arena. That arena is the nonsurgical approach to optimize the patient’s aesthetic wellness. Dr. Haworth has maintained that future advances in plastic surgery will not lie solely in the operatory but more in the laboratory. Specifically, advances in lasers, injectables, light and genomic therapy will take precedence over any evolutionary steps in surgical technique. Currently, non-surgical cosmetic procedures are rapidly evolving to meet the expectations, budgets and lifestyles of patients of all backgrounds and consequently, their popularity is exponentially increasing every year.
As a world-renowned expert in facial plastic surgery (including rhinoplasty, lip lifts, face lifts, eye lifts and even bodywork such as breast augmentation) Dr. Haworth has come to a point where he need not confine his artistry mainly to the syringe and scalpel but also safely and reliably imbue it into noninvasive aesthetic medicine. Consequently, he and his team at the Haworth Institute have founded Self-Centered Aesthetics, a center devoted to optimum physical appearance, through the safest, most reliable state-of-the-art technology.
Self-Centered Aesthetics (SLF-CA)will be catering to the vast majority of patients’ aesthetic needs.
Among the services SLF-CA will be offering are:
3. Removal of wrinkles, fine lines and sagging folds via a variety of methods including essentially all fillers, microneedling with PRP, Botox and lasers (Spectra®, Encore® Active and Deep FX™ fractionated CO2, ResurFX® fractionated erbium and IPL® Photofacial)
4. Treatment of brown spots, brown patches, red discolorations and spider veinsutilizing proven laser technology (IPL® Photofacial and Spectra®)
5. Tattoo removal(Spectra® and other lasers)
6. Noninvasive body fat reduction through SculpSure®, a laser designed to achieve up to 20% fat reduction in 25 minutes with virtually no discomfort and absolutely no incisions.
7. Facial feature improvementthrough the selective use of fillers and Botox®. With refined aesthetic sensibility and an astute artistic sensitivity, fillers (both temporary and permanent), can enhance all aspects of the face. However, to maximize the beauty of a result without artifice or outward fakery requires customized planning to balance patients’ needs with their individual expectations. From a flat forehead with hollow temples to sunken cheeks and dark eyelid circles to thin lips and an ill-defined jawline, the professionals at SLF-CA under the auspices of Dr. Haworth dedicate themselves to make you look your very best!
Additionally, our CENTER will offer aesthetician services to maintain and fine-tune your SELF and your AESTHETIC results.
Self-Centered Aesthetics™ will be coming soon. www.selfcenteredaesthetics.com