Cosmetic lip augmentation consists of the enlargement and reshaping of otherwise normal upper and/or lower lips to improve their dimensional relation with the patient's nose, teeth, and surrounding facial structures. The appearance of the lips is determined by the spatial relation of the lip structures with the teeth in a 3-dimensional space and by their function during animation and speech. Lip augmentation creates fuller, plumper lips and reduces fine wrinkles around the mouth. Lips may be injected with collagen or with fat transferred from another site in the patient’s body. Both liquid collagen and fat
are absorbed and repeat treatments are necessary to maintain results.
Using a small needle your doctor will inject a substance into your lips to fill them out. Although this injection can be fat taken from your own body, he or she will probably use an artificial substance like Artecoll or Restylane; collagen is also popular for lips and wrinkles around the mouth. When choosing an injectible, discuss with your doctor the advantages of each one and which is best for you. Lip implants can either be derived from natural sources or by using a material like Gore-Tex. A more permanent enhancement of the lips can be achieved by inserting thin tubes made of a Gor-tex material. They are inserted in the lip in the office after anesthetizing the area for treatment. The results are immediate. Swelling resulting from the procedure may persist up to two weeks, gradually decreasing each day. You are able to return to your daily activities within a week.
A lip lift involves removing the extra skin from the upper lip by making a small incision below the nose. This has the effect of lifting the vermilion (pink portion of the lip) which in turn, results in more visibility of the vermilion. It also shortens the vertical height of the skin portion of the upper lip between the nose and mouth. Stitches remain for approximately one week, at which time you will be able to resume your normal activities.
A V-Y lip augmentation is performed under anesthesia. This technique utilizes your own lip tissue to increase the size of the vermilion. Incisions are made in the inner aspect of the lip and the inner lip lining is elevated. The elevated lining is reshaped to enhance the lip contour and then reattached to the lip. You will see a large amount of swelling of the lip, which could be pronounced for two weeks, improving and gradually decreasing each day. You are able to return to your daily activities within 7 to 10 days.
Lip augmentation is usually done as an outpatient procedure. Topical anesthetic is usually administered during injection techniques. During graft procedures, the lips may be completely numbed with a local anesthetic. Most lip augmentation procedures take about 45 minutes, depending on the procedure employed. The techniques fall into three basic categories:
Injections – The surgeon injects a small semi-liquid substance into the lips to enhance them. This method can also help correct asymmetries of the lips. These injections can be repeated with little to no danger; some material is more permanent than others. The two most popular substances used are collagen and fat.
Grafting – This involves more active work as opposed to injection fillers. A substance or material is inserted or grated to the body. There are a few types of materials used.
Local flaps – This procedure involves placing a flap inside and outside the mouth. Because it is more invasive, it is used when other techniques have been diminished. The technique involves an incision in the upper lip that follows the lip line. Some skin is removed and the lip is lifted and turned outward to create a fuller look. However, there is always a permanent scar on the lip edge.
Recovery is dependent on the technique used, but there are still general side effects. Patients should expect minimal discomfort, a little bruising and swelling in the hours and days following most lip augmentation procedures. With the exception of the local flaps procedure, patients can expect to return to work either the same day or within 48 hours. Patients undergoing the local flap procedure are advised to wait up to a week before returning to work.