Lip Augmentation Overview
Lip augmentation refers to any of a number of surgical and minimally-invasive procedures to correct asymmetry or increase the size of the lips. Procedures range from injectable dermal fillers such as collagen and hyaluronic acid to autologous fat transfer, in which fat is extracted from a donor site on the patient’s body and injected into the lips, to flap grafts, in which tissue is manipulated from inside the patient’s mouth into the lips.
- PreparationBefore lip augmentation, there are a number of preparatory measures the patient should take. No aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs should be ingested for two weeks before the procedure, and smoking should be ceased for at least the two weeks before and after surgery. On the day of the procedure, patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing. This will help prevent post-operative injury to the lips when getting dressed.Dr. Vallecillos may also require that you undergo a mammogram before the procedure, as well as after healing is complete. Typically, the breasts are also photographed and measured before and after the operation, to qualify results.
- AnesthesiaThere are several techniques for lip augmentation, and the type of anesthesia will vary therein. If lip flaps and/or fat grafting are performed, general anesthesia is administered. If only injections are required, then a topical anesthesia may be used.
- Lip augmentation can be achieved through a number of means, distinguished by the relative permanence of the results. Procedures range from injectables that temporarily increase lip volume to permanent tissue or fat grafts. Dr. Vallecillos will assess and discuss beforehand which procedures would suit your individual needs.
Dermal fillers such as collagen and hyaluronic acid (including brand name treatments Juvederm, Restylane, and Perlane) can be used to temporarily add volume to the lips. When injected, these substances add support and bring water to the surface of the skin, creating a full and supple appearance.
It is important to note that these fillers will need to be frequently repeated in order to maintain results.
When a more permanent result is desired, fat transfer is another option for lip augmentation. In this procedure, fat is harvested from a donor site on the body (usually the abdomen or inner thighs) through liposuction, purified, and then prepared for injection into the lips.
While the results from fat transfer will last longer than synthetic fillers, your body will eventually reabsorb much of the grafted tissue.
In this method, tissue from inside the patient’s mouth is used to enhance the size of the lips. Incisions may be made inside the mouth, and tissue subsequently manipulated up and out into the lips. This procedure is the most invasive but does yield more permanent results.
Lip Augmentation FAQ
Who is a candidate for a lip augmentation?
You should consider lip augmentation if you have naturally thin or asymmetrical lips, or if you suffer from deflated lips or lines as a result of aging. The type of procedure used to address your individual needs will depend on your specific diagnosis as well as the desired permanence of the results.
What is the recovery time for lip augmentation?
Recovery time will vary based on the type of procedure(s) performed. If you undergo injectable fillers, you will most likely have little to no downtime. Some patients experience bruising or firmness at the injection sites, but most patients can immediately return to their normal daily activities. If you undergo fat transfer, your recovery time will be longer, as both your lips and the fat tissue donor site(s) will need to heal. You may experience some swelling, sensitivity, and pain near the donor and injection sites for up to a week after surgery. If a lip flap has been performed, it may take up to two weeks for the lips to recover. Stiffness of the lips may occur and in some cases can take up to three months to disappear.
Are there risks or side effects with lip augmentation?
Lip augmentation rarely has serious complications, but bleeding, infection, slow healing and/or allergic reactions to injected material may occur. Risks and side effects vary based on the type of procedure performed, and will be discussed with you before undergoing treatment.
How long do the results last?
Results from injectable dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, and Perlane) are temporary and generally require repeat treatments every few months. The permanence of results from fat transfer will depend on the individual patient, but in most cases grafted tissue is eventually reabsorbed, rendering additional treatments necessary.
Flap grafts will yield the most permanent results.