Upper Lip Lift Surgery in Melbourne

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Upper Lip Lift Surgery – Bull Horn Lip Lift – in Melbourne and Sydney

  • Losing your Beautiful Smile with age?
  • Want to show off more of your upper teeth and be less reliant on lip fillers?
  • Want to look younger or more refreshed?

Dr Patrick Briggs and Dr Richard Sackelariou only perform lip lifts in Hospital. Dr Patrick Briggs will only perform lip lifts on those patients who have a long upper lip resulting from the natural ageing process, which generally means a more mature aged patient. For younger patients please phone to enquire about a lip lift procedure in hospital.

Dr Richard Sackelariou
Dr Richard Sackelariou
Dr Richard Sackelariou

What is an Upper Lip Lift Surgery? (Bullhorn Philtrum Shortening Surgery)

The Bullhorn lip lift can change and enhance the size and shape of your lips, without the need for repeated lip filler injections. It works by slightly reducing the length of the philtrum, and the skin between your nostrils and your upper lip.  This philtrum reduction surgery can help improve your overall facial proportions or reduce the signs of ageing above your lip.

This rejuvenating facial enhancement procedure can also help reveal your upper teeth to improve your smile.  It is available from facial Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Richard Sackelariou FRACS (Plas). He operates in accredited hospitals in both Melbourne & Sydney.

There are several different surgical lip lift procedures available to change the shape or volume of the upper lip and a bullhorn lip lift is one of the most popular. A curved incision line is made along the nostril areas to help reduce the philtrum. Shortening the philtrum through facial surgery, especially when combined with lip filler or other lip augmentation procedures, can have a rejuvenating effect on the face and smile. The incision line often heals very nicely for most patients.

A bullhorn lip lift is more common than a corner lip lift, but sometimes patients combine the two.

best plastic surgery procedures
One Benefit of an Upper Lip Lift is fewer Lip Fillers

What are the Benefits of a Bullhorn Lip Lift?

  • An improved smile and a more harmonious facial proportion between the upper lip and your nose.
  • If the skin just below your nostrils has started to sag or has a very wrinkled or ‘bag’ appearance, reduction of the philtrum by an upper lip lift may help reduce the ageing appearance of that area.
  • It can help reduce a ‘bottom teeth’ prominent smile. IF the reason your lower teeth appear to protrude is that your philtrum is elongated.
  • The lip lift procedure CANNOT compensate for orthodontic or dental problems. It’s more a cosmetic skin reduction procedure above the upper lip
  • It can also reduce the sagging appearance of the skin between the nose and upper lip. Ask your Surgeon what to expect.
  • For facial rejuvenation, you can combine a lip lift with other rejuvenation procedures such as; deep skin peels, a facelift, eyelid lift or laser treatments. This can help refine the skin and reduce lines, folds and wrinkles in other areas of the face.
  • Revealing more of your upper teeth to rejuvenate or improve your facial appearance when smiling or talking.
  • Enhancing your smile when, prior to the lip lift, the bottom teeth featured overly prominently in the smile.
  • Reduce the impression of having a protruding lower jawline or lower teeth-line when the upper lift is covered by a sagging or elongated philtrum.
  • Improving the ratio of the lower face or balancing out the upper, mid and lower face.
  • Allowing the lips to appear fuller or more noticeably plump. Especially if further enhanced with lip augmentation using soft-feeling, natural-looking state of the art lip filler injection treatments.
  • Not all patients may be suitable for a lip lift. But for those who are, it can lead to a dramatic improvement of the above-lip area and smile.


How does a Bullhorn Lip Lift help improve the facial appearance or reduce ageing?

  • reduces the look of facial ageing
  • can improve your smile
  • shows off your upper teeth better
  • can balance out the middle, lower and upper face (improving facial harmony or facial proportions)
  • may help smooth out the skin above the lip and help reduces lines or skin folds in that area
  • can minimise the appearance of a sagging face in that area of the face. Ask your Surgeon to what extent this is possible.

How do you know if you need a Lip Lift or a Lip Augmentation?

Lip Lift Surgery - Options for a bullhorn lip lift In Melbourne
  • Essentially, if your lower teeth show when you talk or smile but your upper teeth are hidden by your upper lip area, then this lip lift procedure may be the best solution for rejuvenating the face and smile.
  • Chin augmentation may also improve the lower area of the face. However, each patient is unique.
  • An in-person consultation is the first step in finding out which type of procedure will be right for YOUR facial anatomy and appearance concerns.
  • NOT all patients will be suitable candidates, but for carefully selected patients, the results improve; the facial harmony, smile appearance and youthfulness of the lower face.
  • Remember, however, that; all patients are unique, that all surgery has risks, and that results can vary from patient to patient.

Ask your Surgeon for details during a confidential consultation. Only proceed if you feel comfortable and knowledgeable about what the procedure can and cannot accomplish.  Consultations are a great place to start exploring what Plastic Surgery of the lip, chin, or under the nose can accomplish for you.

Are you suitable for Upper Lip Lift Surgery?

It is most appropriate for men and women whose teeth appear hidden by a lengthened or sagging upper lip area – known as an ‘elongated philtrum’ (the philtrum is the area of skin covering the distance between your nostrils and the edge of your upper lip). Though typically older patients show interest in lip lifts, younger patients also opt for lip lifts to give their lips and face a more balanced and beautiful look.

You may be a good candidate for a bullhorn lip lift if:

  • Your teeth do NOT show when you smile.
  • Only your bottom teeth show when you smile
  • You have a long space (greater than 1.5 cm) between the nose and upper lip
  • You have thin, flat lips
  • Your lips are too short or otherwise are not good candidates for lip fillers
  • You want to enhance your upper lip with a “pout” look

If you have a philtrum that seems to be elongated, and if your upper teeth barely show and you look ‘long in the face’ between your nose and chin, then a lip lift may be the right solution for you

You may NOT be a suitable candidate for Upper Lip Lift if you need orthodontic work instead of a lip lift. Alternatively, you may benefit more from lip augmentation using injectables or alternative lip enhancement treatments.

Other Facial Rejuvenation Surgery options with an Upper lip lift

Your smile can be rejuvenated – or your face harmonised – with specific procedures designed to improve the aesthetic balance of your overall facial appearance.  This is one of the reasons so many people investigate their options for a lip lift. Next to the eyes, the smile is a central feature of the face, followed by the nose. If any of your facial features appear out of balance with the rest of the face, they can distract from the aesthetic appearance of the face or smile.

An elongated philtrum or lower-tooth-prominent smile can lead to a lack of aesthetic balance. A bullhorn lip lift can help improve the appearance of the lip area and smile.

The Upper Lift Lift Surgical Procedure

The lip lift surgical procedure gets that name because of the ‘bullhorn’ curves of the incision made by your Plastic Surgeon. These lines are just under the nose and allow the surgeon to raise the upper lip line to enhance both your facial appearance AND your smile. The procedure reveals more of the upper teeth line and prevents a ‘bottom tooth only’ smile appearance.

lip-lift-upper-lip-surgery in Melbourne by Dr Sackelariou

The surgical procedure shortens the amount of space between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip.

  • The surgeon will remove a portion of skin from below the nose to raise the upper lip.
  • The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
  • The initial recovery time is typically 5-7 days.
  • Sometimes swelling occurs or bruising, and this tends to resolve within 2 to 3 weeks for most patients.

Virtually undetectable for most patients, the incision line placement is just beneath the nose. The incision lines follow the shape of the nose area, essentially the shape of a bullhorn, hence the name.

All surgery has risks – for detailed information about the risks and potential complications of Upper Lip Lift surgery please visit the risks of surgery page.

What will my scars look like after having lip lift surgery?

After healing from a lip lift, the incision line is barely noticeable. The best thing you can do to understand what scar you might have after surgery is to speak with your Plastic Surgeon. Ask to see Before and After photos when you attend a confidential consultation at our Melbourne or Sydney Clinic. As the placement of the incision is under the nose and nostril areas, it follows the facial curves and facial contours in that area. The incision tends to become disguised by existing skin textures and existing lines or facial contours in that area. But every patient is unique.

  • Please Note – All surgical incisions leave some visible traces. Scarring varies depending on your skin type, skin tone, skin thickness and healing capacities.
  • Remember, every patient is different. Ask your Specialist Plastic Surgeon at your consultation.

Combining a Lip Lift Surgery with other facial surgery

Upper Lip Lift surgery is NOT only for facial rejuvenation of older patients. Many younger individuals have this procedure performed, including celebrities.

It can enhance the facial appearance and smile.  Men and women of a wide range of ages can benefit from this procedure.

The upper lip lift plastic surgery procedure can also effectively be done in conjunction with other facial surgery.

This might include skin resurfacing, lower facelift or mid-facelift, eyelid reduction surgery, chin augmentation and more.

Megan Leto Mark had an Upper Lip Lift with a Rhinoplasty


Celebrity Megan Leto Marx recently posted about her Lip Lift surgery (she also had Rhinoplasty surgery) on her Instagram account.

Here’s an excerpt from her post about her Sydney surgery:

“Why do you look different?” – a question that’s popped up a lot on my socials over the last two months. After a lot of consideration (and excitement), I had rhinoplasty and a lip lift ….I’m preparing a blog to detail my whole experience which will go live next week – so fire away with any specific questions you might have that I can answer! …. 😛)

Can you tell if someone has had an upper lip lift or bullhorn lip lift?

The answer is, usually not.  What you notice are the upper teeth and not the lip. But every patient is different and you need to discuss incision lines and healing capacities with your Plastic Surgeon.

Typically the incision lines are in a strategic position where they fade into the natural lines or contours of the skin around the underside of the nostrils or nose.

  • If you look closely at a person who’s had a lip lift, you may or may not notice telltale signs of a bullhorn lip lift.
  • For most healthy patients who heal well, follow post-surgery recovery protocols and who don’t smoke, the incision line after a lip lift will often appear barely visible after it fully heals.

What causes an elongated philtrum that hides your upper teeth when you smile or talk?

Your elongated philtrum appearance may have been inherited – or it may be the result of ageing skin.

  • Having an elongated philtrum may result in a slightly elongated facial appearance, contrasted to the facial proportion ratios that beauty research indicates have been aesthetically pleasing across time and cultures. That noted, surgery is serious business and you should never take plastic surgery lightly, even though cosmetic procedures are increasingly popular. Find out more about what to expect, during a confidential consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon.
  • Be sure you understand that every patient is unique.
  • Recognise that results can vary significantly from patient to patient.
  • Understand there are risks to having cosmetic plastic surgery procedures. But, remember there are ways you can minimise some of the risks, such as by never smoking and by following your Surgeon’s instructions carefully before and after surgery.
  • Find out what YOU can do to optimise your lip lift surgery results and minimise your risks – ask our Patient Care Consultants for details on 1300 264 811
  • We strongly recommend you know the difference between Specialist Plastic Surgeons (FRACS) and Cosmetic Surgeons.
  • Having your lip lift operation in a hospital is also likely to be safer and more sterile than in a clinic backroom, due to quality monitoring requirements at Australian certified Private Hospitals.

How can a Lip Lift Can Help Rejuvenate the Face or Enhance a Smile – Harmony of Facial Proportions

For many patients, however, facial harmony can be restored through surgical procedures – but it’s important you understand the process, procedure, risks, costs and recovery times.  These will be covered in detail during a no-obligation consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon at our Clinic in Hawthorn East (Melbourne).

The appearance of the smile can be a giveaway on ageing faces.

  • As time goes on, the philtrum – the area between your nose and the edge of your upper lip – can elongate or sag.
  • Some people are genetically predisposed to having an elongated philtrum.
  • Elongated philtrums often cover teeth and can result in a less attractive smile, as the teeth are either
    • not showing at all, or
    • only the lower teeth are showing
    • giving an appearance of a forward lower jaw or of protruding lower teeth even if they are actually even, only because the upper lip is covering your upper teeth

As we age, our lips lose their plumpness and begin to descend, just like the skin on our face. The white portion of our lips begins to get larger as the red portion becomes thinner. Some people notice their upper lip hangs over the front white teeth both with and without smiling. Fuller lips in better proportion to the face will make you look younger, give you a more “pouty” lip, and give you a more appealing smile.

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Upper Lip Lift Melbourne Cost – How much is Bullhorn Lip Lift Surgery Melbourne?

  • The cost of a bullhorn lip lift surgery varies significantly depending on what you need to be done, who does the surgery and where you have the procedure. Please don’t choose the cheapest option.
  • This surgery can be performed under local anaesthesia in a backroom clinic by any doctor but Dr Sackelariou prefers the safety and aesthetic results of a more comprehensive procedure under full general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital.
  • Book a consultation to get a customised surgery quote for the procedure performed by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in an Australian Private Hospital.
  • Attending a confidential consultation can give you a more precise cost of having the procedure performed by a genuine Specialist Plastic Surgeon (rather than just a GP or just a cosmetic surgeon or skin disease doctor).
  • The cost for this procedure can be around $8k to $10k depending on your location & hospital. – If you phone us, we are happy to give you an estimate of the cost range for lip lift procedures.

For information about a Upper Lip Lift Payment Plan.

About our Specialist Plastic Surgeons

Coco Ruby Dr Patrick Briggs Surgeon Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs, Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne

FRCS, FRCSI, FRCSI (Plast. Surg)

Dr Briggs is dedicated to excellence in patient care and committed to treating each and every patient professionally and with respect and privacy. 

If you want to find out more about this procedure book a consultation today.

Dr Richard Sackelariou – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne and Double Bay, Sydney


With over 20 years of experience in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr Richard Sackelariou Specialist Plastic Surgeon offers a wide range of procedures for both men and women.

If you want to find out more about this procedure book a consultation today.

Dr Richard Sackelariou is one of the most respected Specialist Plastic Surgeons for facial rejuvenation procedures. His areas of expertise include lip augmentation, chin augmentation, facelift surgery, eyelid surgery, brow lift procedures, rhinoplasty surgery, otoplasty and abdominoplasty.

In terms of facial enhancements for people of all ages, Dr Sackelariou is an expert in various forms of lip augmentation including lip lift surgery and lip filler injections as well as lower jawline refinements such as chin augmentation using a chin implant or lower-facelift and neck lift surgery.

He is highly sought after for his precision plastic surgery techniques for facial rejuvenation procedures and for Rhinoplasty, Eyelid Lift Surgery, Cheek Fat Pad Elevation and Facial Feature Augmentation.

If you seek facial rejuvenation through non-surgical methods, such as Cosmetic Injections (dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections), please phone our office for a consultation.

Next Step – Book a Consultation

If you are considering facial cosmetic plastic surgery then Dr Richard Sackelariou or Dr Patrick Briggs is the specialist plastic surgeon for you.

They can assist you in achieving your desired image, helping restore you to a more youthful and confident self.

Phone Melbourne 1300 264 811 or Sydney 1300 661 362 to enquire or request a consultation.

Coco Ruby’s Specialist Plastic and ENT Surgeons

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic Surgeons are dedicated to best practice patient care and education, customising Breast Enlargement Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

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What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Phone 1300 264 811, Email us: enquiries@cocoruby.com.au or Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager or a Virtual Consultation with a Surgeon.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.