Lip augmentation is a relatively simple cosmetic procedure used to define and volumize the lips. This common office based procedure is usually performed on the upper and lower lips to provide a balance to the lips, though the treatment is individualized to meet the goals of the patient. Most patients desiring increased volume to the lips are able to achieve their desired results with just one simple procedure.
Lip augmentation can be achieved through several different techniques, with the most common being an injectable gel such as a hyaluronic acid filler (Juvederm® or Restylane®), which can last for up to one year. The best procedure for you depends on your goals of the lip augmentation procedure and any previous treatments. Dr. Trussler will discuss your lip augmentation goals with you to help you decide which treatment option is best for you to achieve the natural lips you desire.
What Are My Options?
The most common lip augmentation options involve an injection of a facial filler to increase the size and definition of the lips. Your own body’s fat, or synthetic or biologic implants may be used as well. Some of the options commonly used by Dr. Trussler for lip augmentation include:
- Hyaluronic Acid filler injections (Dr. Trussler prefers the use of Juvederm®)
- Fat injections using the patient’s own fat from another area of the body
- Collagen implant from your own body such as Palmaris Tendon harvested from the wrist
- Fascial (SMAS) implant from your own body usually harvested at the time of a facelift and performed during that procedure
- Lip Lift involves an incision below the nose which can naturally shape and lift the upper lip
Each of these different types of lip augmentation offer patients benefits over other techniques, though biologic type augmentation techniques are preferred. You can discuss these options further with Dr. Trussler in order to determine which procedure is best for you.
It is important to discuss all options for treatment with Dr. Trussler in order to achieve the safest and most effective results for your lip augmentation procedure. A patient who presents for their first procedure should be conservative with the choice of lip augmentation and the amount. Hyaluronic acid fillers are relatively inexpensive, non-permanent, safe, and easily injected in the office with limited downtime. Utilizing your own bodies tissue requires a donor site from another area in the body, which is invasive and more expensive, though these types of lip augmentation may be longer lasting. A lip lift is an effective lip augmentation technique with long lasting results though it does require an incision below the nose which may leave a small scar.
Through injectable fillers, autologous grafts or biologic implants, patients can achieve larger, fuller lips with minimal downtime and few side effects. With realistic expectations and good overall health, most patients are satisfied with the results of this procedure. Of note, volume can be added with the addition of a hyaluronic acid filler layered on top of any lip augmentation technique, and these fillers can be dissolved with the use of a hyaluronidase.
Lip augmentation procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and can usually be done in the office in less than an hour. Topical anesthesia is commonly used for the injectable procedure, as the majority of fillers have lidocaine in the gel. Fat injections and biologic implants are most commonly performed in the operating room under some modality of monitored anesthesia.
For office based injections, the filler is injected in small amounts in the areas agreed upon during the initial consultation. Depending on the patient, the areas injected are the upper lip line and lower corners of the lip to provide natural definition, but avoid the “duck lip” look. Volume is then replaced to the natural anatomy of the lip: the three elevations of the upper lip and the two elevations of the lower lip. The outcome should achieve a volumetric balance to the lips with more volume in the lower than the upper lip. Proper placement of the filler in each of these areas is important in order to achieve optimal results. Ice is used immediately after to help decrease swelling.
Fat injection to the lips generally follow the same technique, other than the fat is harvested from another area of the body, cleaned, centrifuged and then loaded into small syringes for injection. Dr. Trussler does prefer to do this procedure in the operating room, and is usually combined with other cosmetic procedures like liposuction.
Biologic implants like Palmaris Tendon and SMAS fascia are performed in the operating room. They are harvested from their respective areas, wrist and face, fashioned to fill the upper and/or lower lips, and the inserted through small incisions in the corners of the mouth. The incisions are closed with fine dissolvable stitches.
Lip lift can be performed in the office or in the operating room. A small incision is made just below the nose after the area is anesthetized with local anesthetic. Skin is removed and sutures help to naturally lift and shape the upper lip.
After Care & Recovery
After a lip augmentation, patients may experience mild discomfort and swelling for about one week, although these side effects usually subside on their own and are limited with the use of ice. The lips may appear to be overfilled and uneven at first, since there may be more swelling in one area versus the others. The final result is usually appreciated at four weeks. After a lip lift, sutures are removed in 5 days and scar care is started at three weeks. The scar from this procedure will fade over time.
Most patients can return to work and other normal activities within one to two days after the procedure, although exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for a bit longer. Recovery from fat grafting and the other biologic implant procedures may take longer.
Depending on the type of material used, patients may require multiple treatments over time to maintain their desired results. Touch-ups can be performed after four weeks with injectable fillers if needed.
- Trussler AP, Kawamoto HK, Wasson KL, Dickinson BP, Jackson E, Keagle JN, Jarrahy R, Bradley JP. Upper Lip Augmentation: Palmaris Longus Tendon as an Autologous. Plast Reconstr Surg 2008 Mar; 121(3): 1024-1032.
Whether you have a question or would like to setup a consultation, Dr. Trussler and his staff are here to help. Please fill out our contact form, or call our Austin office at 512-450-1077 to schedule an appointment. Most injectable consultations and the lip augmentation procedures can be performed the same day depending on time and availability.