Lip Lift vs. Lip Flip: What’s The Difference?

Written by Cameron Craven, MD, FACS, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on January 4, 2022 No Comments

lip enhancement

Lip augmentation continues to rank among the most sought-after cosmetic procedures. A lip lift and the Botox lip flip are two of many ways to achieve fuller, poutier lips. These two cosmetic procedures each address different issues and lead to slightly different results.

If you’re interested in making changes to the fullness of your lips or the shape of your smile, read more to learn which lip enhancement method may be best for you and why.

About the Lip Lift

A lip lift is a surgical procedure that’s typically performed in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia. Lip lifts create a fuller top lip by shortening the space below your nose and above the lip’s vermillion border.

How Lip Lifts are Performed

There are several types of lip lifts, but the procedure is most commonly performed by removing a slim section of tissue from underneath the nose to shorten the upper lip. This causes the top lip to roll outward, creating more volume.

Lip Lift Results

A lip lift not only results in fuller lips, but will create a shorter upper lip and a toothier smile.

About the Lip Flip

A lip flip (or Botox lip flip) is a non-surgical procedure, also performed in your doctor’s office. The procedure creates the illusion of a fuller top lip through the use of neuromodulators such as Botox.

How a Lip Flip is Performed

A lip flip uses Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin to temporarily paralyze the muscles of the upper lip, causing it to flip outwards. A lip flip can be combined with lip fillers for more dramatic results.

Lip Flip Results

Similar to a lip lift, a lip flip creates volume by causing more of the upper lip to show. It will not, however, shorten the upper lip.

Differences Between Lip Lifts and Lip Flips


Both lip lifts and lip flips achieve similar volume in the top lip. The lip lift does this by lifting the top lip, while the lip flip does this by causing the top lift to protrude. The resulting profile of the lips will differ slightly with each technique.

Treating Additional Issues

A lip lift will not only leave you with a fuller top lift, but will treat the age-related issue of an elongated upper lip. Upper lip shortening means a lip lift will also produce a toothier smile by lifting a top lip which has sagged below the upper teeth.

Because a lip flip uses Botox injections, the procedure can simultaneously treat vertical wrinkles around the top lip, known as smoker’s lines. A lip flip is also a go-to for those seeking a less toothy or gummy smile.


A lip lift is a surgical procedure which requires an incision, the removal of tissue, and stitches. As with all surgical procedures, a small scar will remain. A lip flip, on the other hand, is much less invasive, involving just a few injections over the course of 3-5 minutes.


A lip lift procedure, like any other surgery, does require some downtime. Stitches are typically removed within a week, although incision sites take anywhere from 3-6 months to completely heal. A lip flip requires no downtime, with minor swelling at the injection site typically dissipating within 1-3 days. Lip flip recovery is similar to what many patients experience after lip injections.

Result Duration

A lip lift is a relatively permanent procedure. In younger patients, there’s a slight chance the upper lip will droop again with age. Results of a lip flip last anywhere from 3-4 months, the time it takes for the neuromodulator to dissipate in the body. To maintain your lip flip results, you’ll have to repeat the procedure up to 3 times per year.


As with any surgical procedure, the lip lift entails a risk of infection, unexpected scarring, or improper healing. While Botox is among the safest cosmetic procedures, risks of a lip flip include allergic reaction, or excessive swelling or bruising at the injection site. You can minimize the risk of either procedure by selecting an experienced, board certified injector or surgeon.

Which is Best for You?

You’re a good candidate for a lip lift if you have a long upper lip or if you’re seeking a toothier smile. If you merely have thin lips, you might consider a different type of lip augmentation.

If zero downtime is important to you, or if you want to test run an impermanent procedure, you’re a better candidate for a lip flip.

Keep in mind, the lip lift and lip flip are not your only options for lip augmentation. Lip implants and lip injections are also popular methods of lip enhancement. A consultation with your doctor is ultimately the best way to decide which procedure will deliver your desired results.

Cameron Craven, MD, FACS

Cameron Craven MD, FACS is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Craven specializes in the full spectrum of cosmetic surgery including breast augmentation, liposuction and body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser surgery, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty, as well as reconstructive surgery for skin cancers.

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