With increasing demand for lip augmentation, I am compelled to share the advantages and disadvantages for the most common procedures I recommend for my patients, including Fillers, Implants and Enlargements.
Fillers – Clearly fillers are the easiest solution. Currently Juvederm and Restylane, two nearly identical fillers, are most popular. Although this is a popular choice, the clear disadvantage lies in the fact that fillers are not permanent and must be repeated. Juvederm, the filler I most commonly use in my practice, lasts about one year with some patients requiring touch-up injections after six months. Additionally, the injections are minimally painful. For the comfort of my patients, I numb the lips with a dental-type anesthetic which does not alter the appearance of the lip, thereby allowing me to achieve attractive results.
As an added advantage – and unlike the permanent results of surgical options – the fullness of the lips can easily be controlled with fillers. Typically, I insert the Juvederm in small doses, allowing the patient to look at the change and decide when they have achieved the desired result. Some patients even return a few days after the procedure – once they have adjusted to their new appearance – to receive a bit more filler.
Lip Implants – Lip implants are a viable solution for patients that want permanent results. However, until recently, the primary product on the market was Goretex – the same material used for vascular grafts. I have discontinued use of this implant for my patients because Goretex doesn’t stretch and patients experience discomfort with simple expressive gestures such as puckering or smiling. Patients also complained of a feeling of “having a piece of rope” in their lips that would often be visible when smiling.
A newly introduced product may hold promise. It’s made from the same material that covers the outside of a breast implant so it’s safe and it can be taken out easily if necessary. My early experience with this product is showing a lot of promise, so I may be recommending it to more of my patients who are seeking permanent lip enhancement.
Surgical Lip Enlargement – I perform two types of lip enlargement surgery – Fat Transfer and Tissue Advancement. Both are permanent and much more expensive than fillers and implants.
Fat transfer is performed by taking fat from some other part of the body, cleaning it, and transferring it to the lips. This procedure can achieve a natural looking appearance; however, the results can be unpredictable as the patient runs the risk that a portion of the fat transferred will be reabsorbed by the body. The second disadvantage to this procedure is healing the area of the body where the fat is harvested.
Tissue advancement is a technique that basically pushes a portion of the inside of the lip toward the outside, thereby increasing the amount of lip that is visible. The effect of the surgery is clearly permanent but the procedure leaves scars on the inside of the lip and may lead to a loss of sensation. I recommend this procedure sparingly, mostly to correct asymmetry of the lip where one side is noticeably fuller than the other.
A word of caution – Some doctors that are injecting liquid silicone into the lips. The use of liquid silicone as a filler is not FDA approved and is therefore an unsafe medical practice in my opinion. I have seen some disastrous cases of infections, cysts, and even tissue loss after silicone injection to the lips. Be careful and ask questions!
The interest in procedures for lip enhancement remains huge for good reason…done properly the results are generally wonderful!!! Most of my patients achieve desired results with fillers and they eagerly return for follow-up treatments when the effects begin to wear off.
Feel free to call me for information or a consultation regarding lip enhancement. I can be reached at my Manhattan, Westchester or Roslyn Heights office at 1-888-PSURGERY. You can also email with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.