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What Is a Bullhorn Lip Lift?

A bullhorn lip lift describes the shape of the incision that we’re going to make when we do a central lip lift. I actually don’t like this term. I like to call this is a sub-nasal lip lift. Sub-nasal means that the incision is in the crease immediately beneath the nose. The reason we make it like a bullhorn is we try and take a little tissue out from all the areas a little more laterally to lift the lateral corner. And we make the incision in the shape resembling a bullhorn.

This is a great lip lift to create youth in the lip in a way that looks natural, and here’s why. As we age, our white lip (that’s the part of the upper lip that in men bears hair) gets long and the red lip inverts. So it’s a little like any kind of tissue that droops. The white lip gets long, and we get elongation and straightening of the lip. It loses its normal curvature and the red lip goes under. The lip lift does something where it shortens the white lip and it creates a nice ratio between the white and the pink lip. This makes people look younger. It really does. I often do these procedures alone in my office under local anesthesia, or I’ll do them with other things like a facelift. I’ll do them in conjunction with other procedures.

What is recovery like after a bullhorn lip lift?

Recovery from this is pretty mild when it’s done alone. It requires a little bit of pain medicine, but only for 12-24 hours. I tell patients that most of the scars that we make in facial plastic surgery are hidden. They’re behind the ear for neck lifts — they’re hidden in the crevices of the ear. They’re put in the hairline for brow lifts. Even eyelids incisions are not very well seen. But this incision is red for a while and I tell all of my patients that they’re going to have a scar that doesn’t look perfect for three or four weeks. And it may not look its best for a few months. Because the scar is right out in front, it’s noticeable. I tell them to get ready to camouflage tit. Once they do, they tend to love this procedure. Note, it also creates swelling in the area, and people are always a little afraid that I’ve created an unnatural result. After the swelling dissipates, and the tissue settles, they love this procedure.

How much does a bullhorn lip lift cost?

It certainly depends on the surgeon and the area that you’re doing it in, the region. Some regions are more expensive. I would say that anywhere in the $3000 range at the least expensive to the $6000 or $7000 at the most expensive. The nice thing is, patients can drive themselves if they don’t get a sedative. If they get a little Valium or another sedative, they have to have somebody drive. Bottomline, the procedure doesn’t take long. They can immediately go home and there’s not much pain, nor swelling afterwards.

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 [email protected].