Everything You Need to Know about Augmenting Your Lips
Many us crave fuller, sexier lips, but have no idea where to start. Lip fillers and lip augmentation seem a bit complicated – and in truth, it is. There are so many options available now, and many factors to consider when deciding which is the best one for you.
When you decide to go with fillers, know what you are getting into before you start. “While the fillers commonly used for lips, (Juvederm, Restylane, etc.) last about six to eight months, after about five months some patients start to notice that they need a fill-up,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken.
You’ll know the time to get a touch-up, and that time may differ from patient to patient. “When the lips start to look thinner than the patient wants, then it’s time to consider another trip to their plastic surgeon,” says Dr. Moelleken.
There are many options for fillers, but the process for injecting them is pretty similar across the board.
Usually, a numbing cream is placed on the lips until they are… well, numb.
Then the filler is injected. “There are many different places on the lip they can be injected, including the white roll, vermillion border, and mucosa, depending on lip dimensions and desired effect. The side effects are typically minimal. Occasionally patients notice swelling for a day or two, bruising which is usually minimal, or unevenness,” says Dr. Moelleken. Any touch-ups are best performed at one week when all the swelling is gone.
Dr. Moelleken says the pain is ‘quite bearable’ since all the major fillers now have numbing medicine (lidocaine) in them.
Other options include fat injection, which is long-lasting and a semi-permanent filler from injected fat obtained from different areas of the patient’s body. “While some of the fat is viable and will probably survive, much or most of the fat is nonviable so it is often reabsorbed with time,” Dr. Moelleken cautions.
“In our practice, we prefer LiveFill, which are grafts made of fat and fascia obtained from the patient’s own tissues. These are not traumatized and usually obtained from the lower abdomen/pubic area through a small incision. These grafts are typically permanent and do not require overfilling. It can be placed very precisely by creating a precise pocket into which the LiveFill is placed,” says Dr. Moelleken.
Avoid implants unless you are very sure:
Give yourself the option to change your mind. “We urge patients to avoid permanent materials such as Gortex or lip implants and have removed many of them when patients complained of being able to feel the implants, awkwardness kissing, unnatural appearance, and restriction in motion of the lips,” notes Dr. Moelleken.
Ultimately, the best choice for your best friend will not necessarily be the best choice for you. This is true for most cosmetic procedures! They are not a one-size-fits-all deal. Talk to your doctor and give careful consideration before making any drastic decisions. To find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area with experience performing lip augmentation, use the Find A Surgeon search tool.