What is Lip Augmentation?
Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can give you fuller, plumper lips. It aims to increase lip fullness through enlargement using fillers such as hyaluronic acid, fat or implants. This kind of surgery is performed under anesthesia, and the recovery takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days. It is generally a safe procedure.
Fat Grafting This consists of transferring fat from one part of one’s own body to the lips. As the patient’s own tissue is used, an infection or extrusions after the process are a rarity. However, one limitation of this process is that the results are unpredictable and can be uneven. Another drawback is that any gain in weight by the patient will result in a commensurate increase in the lip size as well.
Implants This involves the implantation of biocompatible materials into the lips to make them fuller. These alien bodies, however, have the potential to cause infections and extrusion which could result in distortion.
Lip Lifts This process enhances the appearance of the lips by making the vermilion border (line that demarcates lips from the surrounding skin) more prominent. It combats lip sagging by elevating the lip with the use of incisions made beneath the nose.
Benefits of Lip Augmentation
- Results can last for many years
- When performed by a skilled cosmetic surgeon, lip implant surgery can take less than 30 minutes to perform and leave virtually undetectable scars
- Most patients require only 1 to 3 days of downtime
Most patients who have realistic expectations of lip augmentations can be prospects for the procedure. However, a few candidates are considered ideal to receive the procedure:
- People who feel that their lips are too thin, and smiling results in their gums being exposed.
- Patients who view that their lips have lost their fuller feel with age.
- Candidates with uneven lips.
- People who want fuller lips for a morale boost and to increase their self confidence.
During your Lip Augmentation consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your Lip Augmentation surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take photographs
- Discuss your liposuction options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of liposuction and any risks or potential complications
The consultation is the time to ask your surgeon questions.
It’s very important to understand all aspects of your lip augmentation procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your cosmetic surgeon. The first step is to consult with your surgeon. Talk about your goals, the options, the risks and benefits, and the costs. Ask all your questions. If you decide to go ahead with this, your surgeon will give you instructions on how to prepare for it. These may include diet and alcohol restrictions.
Tell your surgeon about any allergies you have and any medications you take, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. She/he will likely recommend you stop taking certain meds, such as blood thinners and certain painkillers several weeks before surgery.
Risks and Safety
- Bumps and lumps : These may be seen on the lips when the filler is placed too close to the lip surface, making it look unnatural. These may persist for upto 3 days to a week after surgery. Such complications generally resolve on their own over time, but you should consult your doctor if the condition persists beyond a week.
- Bruising : Bruising is a common and temporary risk of lip augmentation. Avoid touching the area or massaging it. The area should be kept clean to avoid any infections.
- Slight bleeding : Since blood flow to the lips will increase and vessels can become weak after the injections, bleeding is normal. It will subside in 3-5 days with application of ice packs.
- Swelling : This is common after augmenting lips with fillers. Putting ice bags and frozen peas can help reduce the swelling.
- The main downside usually noted is that the lips do not turn out to be exactly the way you envisioned it. Occasionally, people find that the end result is unlike what they expected of it, mainly when the implants do not fit the way they were meant to.
- Many of these procedures, like the non surgical lip injections are temporary, and could last for a few hours while others may require retouching done about every eight months.
- Sometimes during the procedure, there may be irritation, redness and allergic reactions.
- Although not usually a pocket burner, some procedures may cost a couple of thousand dollars in order to achieve perfection.
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
A lip augmentation may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or a hospital.
If your lip reduction is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
The visible portion of our lips is called vermillion. This is the area that is operated upon, in most lip augmentation procedures. These techniques use a local numbing agent or nerve block injections to ease discomfort. Preoperative digital imaging and photo modification before the surgery, helps in providing very controlled and predictable results. Lip enhancement is a very quick procedure and takes very less downtime.
Fillers – These are biocompatible materials, called injectable dermal fillers. The gel in these fillers, supports and shapes the tissues of the lips. It is injected with the use of gauge needles that are very fine, making the procedure virtually painless. Hyaluronic acid and autologen are two kinds of fillers, most commonly used, that are taken from the patient’s own body. Collagen, a material extracted from cattle hives can also be used after test allergy.
Fat Transfer – This procedure is performed by taking autologous fat from other regions of the body via liposuction or excision and injecting it into the wet vermillion membrane. The surgery requires incisions at the corner of the mouth which can later be sealed by fine absorbable sutures.
Implants – Implants are vermillion augmenters that use natural or synthetic materials to provide plumpness to the lips. Tiny incisions are made inside the corners of the mouth, wherein the harvested and shaped material is threaded through a tunnel. Massaging the graft helps in better placement by smoothing the material. Alloderms or donor tissues from cadavers are one such material implanted, after carefully purifying the graft.
Advancements – After a preoperative evaluation of lip anatomy, upper or lower lips can be advanced forward through permanent incisions, placed in the mouth. Fat grafts from deeper layers of the skin are harvested and positioned under the mucosa. This is done with utmost care, to avoid injuring the arch of the lips. Vermillion advancement is another form of lip augmentation, where incisions are made along the borders of the vermillion. A strip of skin is removed from outside the border and the colored vermillion is pulled into the area, to enlarge it.
Lip lift– This procedure requires preoperative markings to suit the needs of the patient. It is best performed for loose skin or a downward sloping mouth. Incisions are made under nose to shorten the skin and pull the vermillion into place. Sutures are placed to seal the wound and removed after 4-5 days. Incisions made during the various procedures heal inconspicuously and quickly.
To promote healing and minimize complications, you will be seen in a series of post-op appointments, including the day after surgery. These appointments will continue throughout the first year after the procedure to make sure you are healing as planned.
- Adding volume to your lips can give you a sensual look and bring a balance to your features.
- Lip augmentation may also smooth out wrinkles around the mouth and the lips to help you look younger.
- If performed properly, your lips should gradually increase in size (not all at once), which helps in achieving the closest to a natural-look.
- While you may wish to look like your favorite celebrity or popstar, it is not possible to guarantee results like an exact replica of what you wish to expect. You can discuss with your surgeon about choosing an approach to achieving a look best suited for your face.