Full, plump lips are considered a sign of beauty and sensuality. Some of us were born with thin lips or lose our original fullness with age. Most patients seek lip enhancement because they feel their lips are too thin, they are drooping, or they are wrinkled. Whatever the reason, lip enhancement is a commonly desired procedure in our office. There are a number of lip enhancing products and surgery techniques, but cosmetic lip augmentation generally refers to adding materials to the lips either surgically or with the use of hyaluronic acid injectable fillers.
The most requested and least expensive option, in the short term, for enhancing lips is injectable hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Juvederm, Restylane, or Boletero. These fillers create a fuller appearance without undergoing surgery. I use an advanced injection procedure called the Cannula Technique. This method avoids trauma to the facial soft tissues, therefore making is less painful and virtually bruise-free. The advantage of this technique is that it typically requires a single injection port. Instead of using a sharp needle to puncture the lip over and over, I make a small entrance point at the corner of the lip. Then a special blunt tip cannula is inserted into the lip and then the product is injected for an immediate fuller, natural look with no downtime. This technique is more effective in attaining a smoother fill with minimal time commitment by the patient. Although they provide excellent results, fillers only last six to nine months.
Surgical lip augmentation is for anyone who desires to have permanently fuller and more appealing lips. A person with extremely thin lips or a long upper lip may desire to have a more balanced facial appearance. I generally suggest the V -Y lip augmentation in younger patients who want to avoid repeated filler treatments or older patients who desire to plump up aged, thin lips. This procedure is performed by making incisions on the inside of the lip, with no external incisions or scars in the shape of a V and advancing them into a Y shape, rolling the red lip out for a naturally fuller lip. A V-Y does not utilize an implant, but pushes out the patient’s own lip, thus, increasing the amount of external lip show. This can be performed on the upper and lower lips. This procedure does require downtime, but ultimately creates a more natural look and feel compared to implants and fat transfers. Other good surgical options for surgical lip augmentation include SMAS lip grafting, performed as part of a facelift, and dermal fat grafting. An additional surgical lip enhancement surgery usually performed in older patients is a sub nasal lip lift, to shorten the upper white lip giving a couple of millimeters of tooth show that is lost as we age.
Since every person has different goals and expectations, I always suggest consulting with a double board certified facial plastic surgeon with experience with lip enhancement procedures and surgery prior to making the choice that is right for you.
Post provided by Benjamin Stong MD