Subnasal 'Bull Horn' Lip Lift

A lip lift simultaneously reduces the space between the upper lip and nostrils while also augmenting the size of the lips. By raising the skin, the subnasal or “bull-horn” lip lift increases the amount of lip show by exposing and rolling up the lip. This method, known for the bull-horn shaped incision directly under the nose, can also address innate lip asymmetries and give patients an overall refreshed, younger appearance.

Subnasal 'Bull Horn' Lip Lift Overview - Everything You Need to Know

The Skinny

Subnasal 'Bull Horn' Lip Lift
avg. recovery
10 days
Is permanent
Surgical Procedure
$3000 - $4500

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 09.18.2021

The subnasal lift lip technique creates a continuous scar from nostril to nostril in the shape of a bull horn. By excising and lifting the skin, the lip is moved to a more youthful position while also augmenting the appearance of the upper lip. For individuals who desire a subtle lift or more discreet incisions, a modified or Italian lip lift may be a better suited option. The bull-horn lip lift utilizes local anesthesia. Following preoperative planning, the skin around the mouth is first cleansed and prepped. Then, a numbing anesthesia consisting of lidocaine and epinephrine will be applied throughout the procedure region. Incisions will be made directly under the nostril. The incision point begins at approximately 2mm beneath the columella and the nasal base. The incisions follow but do not cross inside the nostrils, connecting across the base of the columella and extending to just outside the corners of the nostrils. Once the region is properly prepared, an excision of skin up to one-third the length between the nose and lip will be made. To complete the procedure, the incision is then closed. Scars will not be hidden within the nose but typically heal and are not immediately noticeable. The average cost of this procedure is $3,325.

The subnasal lip lift targets candidates with long upper lips in reference to the non-red portion of the lip below the nose. This lip lift causes the red lip to roll outwardly achieving a more youthful, "fuller" look. This lift can also be used to create a wider smile, increasing tooth show.


Subnasal 'Bull Horn' Lip Lift addresses concerns such as:

Recovery Notes

After a "bull horn" lip lift, swelling will be most prevalent for the first 3 days after surgery. Use cool compresses as needed and take prescribed pain medication as instructed. Sutures will be removed after 5 days. It is common to experience wound eversion, where the incision appears raised, however this will fade throughout recovery.

Ideal Candidate

Any candidate who presents with an elongated white lip or has height mismatch between the white lip and red lip would be a good candidate for a subnasal lip lift.

Not Recommended For

A subnasal lip lift is is not recommended for candidates with active infections in or around the mouth such as herpes, lupus, blood-clotting diseases, diabetes, or heavy smokers unwilling to quit for a short period.

Side Effects

Side effects from a subnasal lip lift may include infection, fluid accumulation (seroma), wound separation, abnormal scarring, loss of sensation, or dissatisfaction with the aesthetic results.


  • permanent
  • scar is hidden
  • improved lip fullness


  • noticeable scar
  • external scar

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