What Is a Corner Lip Lift?

A lot of my patients ask, can I get a corner lip lift? I’m going to tell you right at the beginning, I’m not in favor of this procedure for the most part. I’m going to tell you why I’m not, and also, what small subset of the population I would do a corner lip lift for. Here’s a guide.

What is a corner lip lift?

A corner lip lift is when we make scars on the sides of the lip to lift the corner of the mouth, which often is depressed. Let me tell you why the corner of the mouth depresses. The depressor muscles outwork the elevator muscles at the corner of the mouth. There’s one muscle called the DAO, the depressor anguli oris, that outworks the LAO, the levator anguli oris, and when that happens, it pulls down the corner so that we have this sad look. Some people call it the resting bitch face — not such a good thing. Some of the lip lifts we use are fabulous, like the central bullhorn lip lift, at lifting up the center of the lip and everting the lip. But they don’t do a great job on the sides of the mouth. And in that subset of the population where the angle of the mouth is very depressed, we’ve got a problem.

Does the corner lip lift leave a scar?

The scars are placed right on the sides of the lips with the idea that some tissue is removed and the lip is lifted. It’s a simple procedure and it creates effective results. So why don’t I like it? I don’t like it because some of the scarring, even when you do it really well, is a little noticeable. All of us have a pink part of our lip and a white part of our lip. We call that the white roll, and I don’t like scars in the white roll centrally or laterally.

When should or shouldn’t I get a corner lip lift?

The only patients I love this on are the elderly because they often have more wrinkling and they hide the scar. The problem is I get requests for the corner lip lift by younger women, and they’re generally not going to accept a scar here. And really, once you have a scar like that, it’s a problem.

Can I lift the corners of my mouth with other methods?

Yes, you can create the effect of lifting the corners of the mouth with botulinum toxin. It could be Botox, Dysport, or similar options. And of course, if you think of the elevator and depressor muscles, I put a little bit of it in the depressor so that the elevator outworks the depressor. So if you put Botox in the depressor and a little bit below the lip, you will get elevation. You knock out the agonist muscle and the antagonist works. If we knock out the depressor, we have more elevation. I would rather do that even though the results are not permanent, but I’m not leaving a permanent, unsightly scar.

Have questions about lip lifts?
Email Dr. Sykes at hello@sykesplasticsurgery.com

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About Dr. Jonathan Sykes

Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution.

He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, facial rejuvenation surgery including facelifts, and rhinoplasty. He also has a particular interest in facial feminization surgery. Have questions? Email Dr. Sykes at hello@sykesplasticsurgery.com.