Cosmetic lip surgery

>> See the before / after photos

Cosmetic lip surgery is designed to ensure your lips blend in with the rest of your face through their volume as well as their shape or position.

Lips are an important part of your facial expression. Their appearance, tone, contour and firmness must match these elements of your face to form a homogeneous whole.

It is not a case of conforming to certain norms but rather of making modifications to harmonise, embellish and preserve your natural look as well as your ethnic and personal identity.

Operations can be on the upper lip, the lower lip or both.

However, lip surgery is not carried out as often as cosmetic treatments like injections, which, in many cases, can remedy the most common aesthetic problems, such as a lack of volume, wrinkles or sagging.

Photo of lip surgery performed by Dr. Louis Benelli, plastic surgeon
Photo of lip surgery performed by Dr. Louis Benelli, plastic surgeon

Volume increase and contouring of the upper lip by hyaluronic acid injection. The result after 1 year.


Photo of lip surgery performed by Dr. Louis Benelli, plastic surgeon
Photo of lip surgery performed by Dr. Louis Benelli, plastic surgeon

Lifting the upper lip with the scar hidden just below the nose; lipofilling the vermilion border.



Surgical interventions on the lips are mainly for a sagging upper lip. Indeed, a basic lack of volume is usually dealt with by cosmetic treatments like hyaluronic acid injections or injecting fatty tissue (lipofilling).

Procedures carried out on the shape of the lips essentially bring out the coloured part of the lip called the "red lip" if this is not easy to see. The upper edge of this coloured part must be prominent. It is called the "vermilion line" or "cupid arch" and outlines the lip contours.

In rarer cases, surgery may also be used to reduce lip volume. This may be necessary when the lips are basically too large or if their volume has been over-increased injecting non-absorbable products like silicone.

Operating diagram for lip surgery.
Operating diagram for lip surgery.

Each person comes to me asking for a particular defect to be corrected when they find this particularly troublesome. The objective of the operation will be to correct this defect as a priority by assessing whether it may be appropriate to correct other associated defects for a well-balanced, natural result that meets your expectations.

So depending on the insights gained from the first consultation, the operation may be on the upper lip, the lower lip, or both, possibly combined with another operation to improve the overall harmonious look of the face. In fact, correcting a particular defect sometimes carries the risk of bringing out another defect that was less visible before. This can be done as part of the same procedure or at another time.

When the upper lip sags over the years, this causes "white lip", which lengthens the part of the lip between the base of the nose and the "vermilion border". This lengthening is an important marker of facial ageing and it is good to correct it, especially during a significant rejuvenating operation such as a cervico-facial lift.

It is common to combine treatments aimed at maintaining good lip volume and/or reducing lip wrinkles, such as chemical or laser peels, dermabrasion, hyaluronic acid injections or injecting fatty tissue (lipofilling).


During the first consultation, it is essential that you openly express what bothers you and what you would like to improve. Do not be afraid to ask any questions, including expressing your fears and expectations. Everyone has a different body shape, psychology and expectations. These are not the same and there is no standard to apply.

After you have explained your motivations, I will examine you and offer one or more solutions, taking into account your expectations, your anatomy, respecting your identity and the natural aspect of your appearance.

So you can visualise the desired result, using a mirror, I will manually recreate the effect the recommended treatments will have on your skin; then, I will show you photos of surgical results from cases similar to yours so you can understand the objective of the procedure.

It’s essential that you and I have a good understanding when deciding to operate and to determine the technique to use from those I can offer.

I will then give you all the information on the techniques proposed along with the information sheets from the Société Française de Chirurgie Plastique Reconstructrice et Esthétique (French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery), as well as a detailed estimate of the costs for the options chosen. You will then be able to move your project forwards and get ready for a second consultation when you will be able to ask any additional questions to help you make a decision and prepare for the operation.

Before the procedure

An examination is not normally required, except in you are having a general anaesthetic (and possibly a blood test). 

In the event of a general anaesthetic, you will need a consultation with the anaesthetist in the weeks leading up to the operation and at least 48 hours before.


No medications containing aspirin or anti-inflammatories can be taken within 10 days of the procedure.

For general anaesthetic, you will have to fast strictly for 6 hours before the operation (do not eat anything, chew gum, eat sweets or smoke). However, if you have local anaesthetic, you can to drink and eat lightly at normal mealtimes.

Tobacco consumption should be stopped or reduced as much as possible during the month before and month after the procedure. Tobacco can cause scarring problems.

The procedure

Hospitalization and duration of the procedure:

You time in hospital is limited to half a day.

The operation lasts for about 30 minutes, then you can go home after a few hours of monitoring.

Type of anaesthetic:

Local, deep local (neuroleptanalgesia) or general, according to your preferences.


Before you go to the operating theatre, in your room, I will go over the precise goals with you as we agreed during the consultations. You can then always make recommendations and ask any questions. I will then draw the lines and marks on your skin to guide the operation and the lines of the incisions.

The upper lip is raised or lifted using a hidden incision inside the nostrils at the point where the nose and the upper lip meet. Any excess skin is removed and the lip is raised. Fine internal stitches are used and placed within the skin’s thickness (intradermal suture) and these are invisible. They also dissolve and do not need to be taken out.

The volume reduction procedure requires an incision inside the lip that is being treated (endo-oral incision). A strip of mucose membrane is removed from the inside of the lip along the area being reduced and then very fine absorbable stitches are inserted, which do not need to be removed. The incision is hidden in the mouth, leaving no visible scar.

At the end of the operation, the lips are cleaned with physiological serum, lightly vaselined and left exposed to the open air without a dressing.

After the operation

After a period of monitoring, you can leave without a bandage, but possibly with a scarf around your face to avoid draughts on the area that was operated on.

Pain is very moderate, most of the time, there is no need to take analgesics.

What may bother you the most is the swelling of your lip (oedema), which varies according to every individual and will take about a week to disappear almost completely.

You will need to take about 3 days off work and social activities.

As the stitches used are absorbable, they do not need to be removed. As they are placed internally within the skin’s thickness (intradermal sutures) or inside the mouth according to the procedure, they are invisible


Clean your face with a mineral water spray.

An antibiotic ointment can be applied twice a day to make moving your lips more comfortable

Use antiseptic mouthwashes after each meal after brushing your teeth for a week after having an incision inside your mouth.

You should make a follow-up appointment 3 days after the procedure, then after 15 days, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.


  •  Exposure to the sun: no direct exposure for 6 weeks, then exposure is allowed using a sunscreen with a maximum protection factor.


  • Make-up: you can apply your usual make-up the day after the operation.


  • Sport: you may resume individual sports, such as gymnastics or running about fifteen days after the operation; team sports or sports involving a risk of trauma to the face (combat sport, ball, etc.) must not be resumed for 3 months.

The result

The improvement is immediately visible despite oedema (swelling) and any bruising that prevents us from fully judging the final result. After about a week, your initial recovery will allow us to appreciate the result, even if full recovery takes 1 to 6 months. The final result is really appreciable 6 months after the operation.

Over the long term, results remain stable for a substantial period; the majority of patients do not need another operation.

In some patients, the aging process means that maintenance using cosmetic treatments may be required, including chemical or laser peels , dermabrasion, hyaluronic acid injections or injecting fatty tissue (lipofilling).

In addition to an aesthetic improvement, this operation has a beneficial impact on the patient’s personal well-being and development.

Risks and complications

Read the information from the French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery. (in French)

Price range

The cost of the operation will depend on the procedure to be carried out, the duration of the operation, the type of anaesthetic and any hospital charges.

If the reason for the operation is purely cosmetic, you cannot get any reimbursement through a social security claim.

On the other hand, if it is for reconstructive purposes after an accident or a disease, you may be covered by social security and, where relevant, by your mutual insurance company.

A detailed estimate is given to you during the first consultation following the options you have chosen. You then have a minimum legal period of 15 days to consider your options and move your project forwards.

The first consultation costs €50. The following consultations before and after the operation are free.

The photographs on this page are here to illustrate and complete the information given on the operations. They are merely for information purposes so you can see the goals, results and scars from the operation.

The likelihood of scarring and each patient’s individual anatomy are different. Therefore, for this reason, the photographs on this site do not commit Dr. Benelli to providing all patients with a similar result.

The information given on a site is not sufficient in itself and a medical consultation is essential to get the right information for each individual case. For this, you’ll need to consult a surgeon qualified in Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

Cosmetic Lip Surgery - Doctor Louis Benelli in Paris