Cosmetic surgeons have practiced lip augmentation (also known as lip enlargement or lip enhancement), since the 1960s; however, the popularity of the surgery has skyrocketed in recent years, as the surgical techniques and materials have improved, leading to better results and overall safety of the lip augmentation procedure. Unlike some plastic-surgery procedures, nearly anyone can be a candidate for lip augmentation, and patients choose lip-enhancement procedures not only to enlarge their lips, but also to correct asymmetries or crookedness. Lip enhancement procedures can resolve the problems of patients with the following problems in the lip region:
- Irregular Border: the right side of the upper or lower lip (or both lips) is larger or smaller than the left side.
- Thin, Flat Lips: a result of genetics and aging
- Insufficient Upper Lip: augmentation can be performed on the upper lip, and a surgical procedure called a “lip lift” can be combined with lip augmentation to maximize results
- Insufficient Bottom Lip: although rare, occasionally, the lower lip is significantly thinner than the upper lip
- Macrochelia (overly prominent lips) Although full lips are currently desirable, excessively prominent lips may interfere with oral function
- High Lip Line (gummy smile): the smiles of patients with a high lip line expose too much of the gum tissues—lip surgery can rectify this problem
- Lip Lines: fine lines around the mouth, resulting from natural aging
Lip enhancement treatments are relatively quick and simple ways to achieve the plumper, more symmetrical lips you desire. With today’s technology, lip augmentation is a comfortable, safe, and predictable procedure that Dr. Shah will customize to meet your individual needs and aesthetic goals.
There are many options to consider when deciding to undergo lip augmentation surgery, and Dr. Shah will go over all of these options with you during your consultation, ensuring that you select the best option for your specific aesthetic goals. During the lip augmentation procedure, lips are injected with collagen or with the patient’s own fat that has been transferred from another region of the body. Both liquid collagen and fat are absorbed by the body, and repeat treatments are necessary in order to maintain the results.
Lip augmentation procedures range from a simple 20-minute office visit, requiring no anesthesia or recovery time, to a surgical procedure, requiring general anesthesia and a longer recovery time. No matter the cause, if you are unhappy with the way your lips look it may be time to consider lip enhancement Surgery. If you would like more information about lip augmentation surgery, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and schedule an initial, complimentary consultation with Dr. Shah. You may also click the link below to read a more in-depth description of the lip augmentation procedure.
The goal of lip augmentation is to keep the lip size in the correct ratio relative to rest of the face. Although standards of lip attractiveness may vary somewhat by individual preference, in general, attractive lips have the following qualities:
- The bottom lip is roughly 75% larger than the top lip. On profile, the upper lips ideally project approximately 2mm beyond the lower lip, which, in turn, projects 2mm beyond the most forward portion of the chin.
- Slight upper tooth show is desirable when the lips are parted.
- The top lip, although smaller vertically, protrudes slightly further than the bottom lip, creating an attractive “pout”.
- A defined philtrum (the vertical groove on the surface of the upper lip, below the septum of the nose) adds the appearance of youth and attractiveness. It can also cause a lifting effect to the top lip enhancing the top lip pout as well as affecting the amount of teeth that will show. When the philtrum is undefined, it creates a flat, elongated appearance of the skin between the nose and upper lip.
- A healthy uniform surface with good hydration
- A distinct “Cupids Bow” and a defined “Vermillion Border”
- There is a 4mm depression between the lower lip and chin.
Your lips are a tactile organ with an essential role in human anatomy and function. The lips are responsible for the intake of food and fluids, facial expression and speech enunciation. Age, sun exposure, personal habits (such as cigarette smoking) and the pull of gravity cause the philtral columns (two parallel thickenings of skin extending from the lip up to the base of the nose) to change. As a result, vertical lip lines become noticeable, and lip volume diminishes.
The lips swell easily when bruised, hit, or cut, and the soft tissue of the lips is constantly subjected to stress due to high muscle activity and pressure from the environment. The lip mucosa does not retain water in the same way other skin tissue does making it susceptible to dehydration. Unlike your eyes and nose, your lips have no solid structure to attach to, making your lips the most variable feature on your face, and a very delicate area to treat.
The areas of the lip that can be enhanced include:
- The Vermillion Border: The vermilion border is the junction between the white and red part of your lips and it is the most common area treated for lip augmentation. By enhancing this area, it is possible to define the lips and outline the borders to make them more distinct.
- Cupid’s Bow: The Cupid’s bow or the “V-shaped” area in the center of your upper lip can be enhanced to make the V more pronounced. If augmentation is performed in conjunction with the philtrum, it can improve the overall shape of the upper lip.
- Vertical Lip Lines: Diminishing vertical lip lines creates a more youthful lip appearance.
- Oral Commissures: The oral commissures are located in the corners of your mouth–filling this area turns the corners of the lips up, creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
- Philtrum: The philtrum consists of the two lines in the center of your upper lip that connect to the nose. By enhancing this “double-ridge” it is possible to give the upper lip more shape and curve.
Unlike some plastic-surgery procedures, nearly anyone can be a candidate for lip augmentation. Many patients choose lip-enhancement procedures not only to enlarge their lips, but also to correct lip asymmetries or crookedness.
Lip enhancement treatments Surgery are a relatively quick and simple way to get the plumper, more attractive lips you desire. Lip enhancement can benefit patients who have lip problems including:
- Irregular Border: Occurs when the lip shape is asymmetrical–to correct this, augmentation of the deficient portion of the lip is recommended.
- Thin, Flat Lips: In this case, the lips are thin and do not have fullness or definition. The upper lip often presents as a straight line with no Cupid’s Bow.
- Very Thin Upper Lip: For this problem, augmentation can be performed on the upper lip, and a surgical procedure called a lip lift can be combined with the augmentation to create a fuller upper lip.
- Very Thin Bottom Lip: Although rare, the lower lip is occasionally significantly thinner than the upper lip, which can be rectified by augmentation of the lower lip.
- Prominent Lips: Although full lips are currently desirable, excessively prominent lips may interfere with oral function. This problem can be corrected with lip reduction surgery.
- Gummy Smile: A normal smile shows all of the white teeth and only a small amount of gum tissue, the High Lip Line case shows an excessive amount of gum tissue.
- Lip Lines: Fillers can be used to smooth out lip lines caused by age or smoking.
During your consultation, Dr. Shah will examine your lips, fat distribution and facial anatomy to determine if lip augmentation is right for you. He will look at your lips and philtrum and consider your chin, nose and cheeks when determining what lip size and shape would best suit your individual face. You should arrive at your consultation prepared to discuss your medical history, including information about any medical conditions you may have, allergies, previous surgeries and the medications you are currently taking (allergies are of particular importance for lip augmentation procedures). Dr. Shah will listen to your concerns and ask what you want to change about your lips before determining will tell you which procedure would best match your appearance goals.
Temporary Lip Enhancement
- Injectable Fillers: There are numerous types of injectable fillers that work by stimulating collagen to plump up the injected area (Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero, Perlane, etc.). Temporary injectable fillers last from a few weeks to over one year, depending on the product used. Fillers can come from animal sources, donated human sources (fat or tissue) or can be completely synthetic. Some of the risks associated with lip fillers are: lumpiness, firmness, inflammation and migration of the material. Depending on the extent of your treatment, the process can last between 15-60 minutes. During the procedure, a syringe will be used to inject the dermal filler into the dermis at several points along the targeted area. After the injections, the volume beneath your skin will increase, restoring a more youthful appearance.
- Fat Transfer Lip Augmentation: During the lip augmentation procedure using a fat transfer, Dr. Shah will withdraw the fat from a discreetly located donor area of your body (such as the stomach or buttocks) using a syringe. The extracted fat is processed by simple centrifugation prior to re-injection into your lip area. The duration of the fat injections varies significantly, and can be long lasting or permanent.
Permanent Lip Enhancement
- Lip Implants: For those patients who want permanent lip enhancement, Dr. Shah offers lip implant surgery, which generally lasts 30 mins-2 hours. The implants he uses are composed of saline or silicone, which cannot rupture, deflate, or degrade over time. The implants are available in a variety of diameters and lengths to create customized results. Lip implant surgery is more invasive than lip augmentation with injectable dermal fillers, and local anesthesia with IV sedation is the typically preferred anesthesia source. For this procedure, Dr. Shah will make a total of four incisions at each corner of your mouth. He will then insert the implant into the lip through the incisions, before suturing the incisions closed with dissolvable sutures and dressing the wounds. Lip implants do not shrink, are never absorbed into the body and never shift in place. Although they are designed to be permanent, lip implants can be removed if your aesthetic preferences change over time.
- Lip Lift: If a patient’s upper lips are too long, or the patient is displeased with the appearance of their thin lips, they may be a good candidate for a lip lift. This procedure is usually accomplished with minimal sedation in an outpatient setting and involves the removal of excess skin and the tightening of corresponding lip muscles.
When performed as a stand-alone procedure, most non-surgical lip augmentations are considered a “lunchtime” procedure, meaning that you can resume your normal routine immediately after your treatment, although you may experience some swelling and bruising, which can last an average of 3-7 days. Surgical lip augmentation procedures require 1-2 days off work, and 2-3 days away from exercise and vigorous physical activity. Following surgical lip augmentation, temporary swelling, bruising and numbness are usually resolved within a week, however, some residual swelling may last several weeks. Lip movement, including talking, chewing and laughing should be limited for the first week following surgery. Keeping your head elevated during recovery will minimize swelling, as will icing your lips the first 48 hours after surgery.
Although lip augmentation is considered a very safe procedure, potential complications include: numbness, swelling, tightness, asymmetry, bleeding, infection, scarring, unnatural movement when talking, implant migration, lip hardness, allergic reactions.