Hollywood Plastic Surgeons Meet Demand for Improved Lip Lift – The Hollywood Reporter

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As Hollywood counts down to its biggest red carpet of the year, there may be more than a few actresses at the Oscars who have undergone the latest in lip lifts, in search of the natural-looking pout.

“Beautiful, welcoming lips help you look younger [and] healthier,” says Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. Ben Talei, who has made an advancement to the procedure with his pioneering CUPID Deep Plane technique, which allows for faster healing minus the nostril widening often seen with other lifts. “The CUPID Lift delivers a more natural-looking, fuller lip, with enhanced symmetry, definition and balance of the vermillion border, the red line along the edges of the lips,” he says, adding that the one-hour procedure is “virtually painless and scar-free.” (CUPID is an acronym that “refers to the different marking lines on the upper lip — center, peak, intermediate, diagonal,” says Talei.)

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s latest annual members’ survey, lip lifts have spiked in popularity as a result of “growing filler fatigue” and a concerted effort to avoid what has become an overdone, unsightly trend — poorly injected, overly inflated puckers.

Unlike filler, a lip lift delivers a more long-lasting and natural-looking alternative when performed correctly. After the philtrum — the area between the upper lip and bottom of the nose — is numbed, the surgery is often performed while the patient is awake, with twilight anesthesia an option if preferred. For his lifts, Talei, who performs eight to 10 Cupids per week, essentially shortens the philtrum by making incisions that are hidden along the base of the nose and occasionally around the corners of the mouth. His patients, who vary in age from 20 to 80, can expect to see enhanced sensuality of the mouth with an upward turning of the Cupid’s bow (i.e., the upper lip, creating a more pronounced “V”), resulting in more volume in the lips, improvements in lines and wrinkles, and just the right amount of an increase in teeth show, another desirable characteristic of a youthful-looking mouth.

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Before (top) and after (bottom) photos of two of Dr. Ben Talei’s patients who have had the Cupid lip lift, which can add more volume and a pronounced V-shape.
Courtesy Of Dr. Ben Talei – Beverly Hills Center For Plastic Surgery (2)

Newport Beach-based plastic surgeon Dr. Kevin Sadati — who is also a go-to for his harmonious lip-lift procedures — adds that some patients are simply not good candidates for fillers. “As we age, the philtrum elongates, lips become flatter due to loss of collagen and elastin, and fillers will just cause an unsightly, more exaggerated appearance.”

The procedure is priced anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, and patients can expect to look presentable within three weeks, with full healing typical in three months or less. (Dissolving an overabundance of filler, an in-office procedure usually costing from $350 to $700, is recommended prior to a lip lift; otherwise, the outcome can be ghastly.)

Having a lip lift can often lead to an appointment with yet another specialist: a cosmetic dentist, especially if one’s choppers are dull, yellowed or dented. Think of this in terms of the fresh new drapes (lips) not matching the tired old flooring (teeth).

West Hollywood-based biomimetic and esthetic dentist Dr. Matt Nejad tells THR he has seen close to a 200 percent increase in requests for veneers in the past two years. “Plastic surgeons are my number one referral source,” he adds. Given the explosive popularity of lip lifts and the added tooth exposure they create, this isn’t surprising. “Depending on the patient and each case, sometimes we do the cosmetic dentistry first,” says Nejad.

Both Nejad and cosmetic dentist Michael Apa are known for their incredibly natural, aesthetically appealing veneers (from $3,500 per tooth), which are handmade and designed by master ceramicists — a rarity in a field where the majority of veneers are machine-made. Apa, who sees patients at his offices in Beverly Hills, New York and Dubai, is one of a select few dentists with his own on-site ceramics lab.

For patients who are having both a lip lift and veneers done, advance treatment planning is crucial so that everything blends. As cosmetic Apa explains, “a good aesthetics doctor is not just looking at how they can use their own specialty, they’re understanding and interpreting what the patient is seeing and what they wish to improve, and then bringing in other specialists at the very start in order to have a comprehensive final outcome.”

“People who smile are more comfortable to be around,” says Nejad, adding that a great smile “can even help an artist perform better.”

A version of this story first appeared in the March 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.





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