Lip Augmentation

In lip augmentation, synthetic or biological materials are implanted into the lips to make them more physically appealing. Lip enhancement surgery can create a greater sense of facial balance for someone whose lips are not well defined.

There are several techniques used in lip enhancement or augmentation. Some of them are more invasive than others; some are actually surgeries. Some types of lip enhancement consist of injections of various types of filler materials. The results of these injections generally do not last. There are several types of injectable filler and most of them are broken down in the body within several months. This happens faster in some people than in others, but injections of filler must be repeated on a regular basis for most people. Although you may want to avoid the surgical options in favor of the injections, you should understand that lip augmentation surgery may be less expensive in the long run when you factor in the number of repeat injections you may need.

Most lip augmentation procedures are performed in a doctor’s office. However, if lip augmentation is to be performed at the same time as other cosmetic surgery procedures, it may be done in a hospital or freestanding surgical clinic.

Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure. A health insurance company will rarely pay for any cosmetic procedure. This means that you will be responsible for all the costs and fees associated with the procedure.

Common Lip Shape Problems

Lips are a bit like fingerprints in that no two pairs are alike and therefore no two people have the same problems with their lips. Most people who are thinking about a lip enhancement procedure want fuller lips that are smooth, plump, wrinkle-free and youthful looking.

A little information about lip anatomy: The muscle that surrounds the mouth is the orbicularis oris muscle. The surface of the lips themselves and the inside of the lips is a tissue called mucosa. The edge of the lips, where the mucosa of the lips meets the regular skin of the face, is rather artistically called the vermillion border. The shape of a normal upper lip, which usually has two peaks just under the nose, is called the cupid’s bow.

Some common lip problems that affect many people include:

Thin, flat lips: Here, the lips are thin and do not have fullness or definition. Often, the upper lip is a straight line with no cupid’s bow. Thin lips are usually the result of your genes, but smoking can be a contributing factor. As people get older, lip tissue tends to break down and the lips become thinner, which is one reason we think of fuller lips as being younger lips.

No upper lip: In this case, the upper lip is significantly thinner than the lower lip. A small upper lip may be also the remainder of a cleft lip that was corrected in childhood. Augmentation can be done on the upper lip alone. There is also a surgical procedure called a lip lift that can be done alone or combined with augmentation to create a fuller upper lip.

No bottom lip: Occasionally, the lower lip is significantly thinner than the upper lip, but it is rare. Augmentation of the lower lip can correct this and produce natural-looking results.

Irregular border: On some people, the right side of the lip is larger or smaller than the left side. This may occur on the upper lip, the lower lip or both. For this case, augmentation of the deficient portion of the lip is recommended. Other people may have an irregular border due to scarring or injury, or as the remainder of a childhood repair of a cleft lip. A good cosmetic surgeon can correct this either with lip augmentation or other procedures.

The healing process can be difficult. You may go through a short period where your lips are swollen and look too large. For most types of lip enhancement, the treatment must be repeated on a regular basis for the best results. You should discuss the desired results of lip augmentation with the surgeon to ensure the goals can be attained through surgery.

Injectable Fillers

If you would like to restore facial contours, or reduce the appearance of lines and creases, injection therapy with soft tissue fillers may be right for you. Injectable fillers can:

  • Plump thin lips
  • Enhance shallow contours
  • Soften facial creases and wrinkles
  • Improve the appearance of recessed scars

Procedural steps:A pharmaceutical filler substance or your own fat is injected below the skin surface to fill hollow areas and creases, or plump the lips and back of the hands. Fat is typically taken from the inner thigh or abdomen.

Your results: Swelling should dissipate in 2-5 days, or 1-2 weeks with fat injections. This procedure produces temporary results, lasting a few months to several years or more, based on the filler used, treatment site and individual patient factors. Some products may be permanent.