Cosmetic plastic surgery lip treatments
Just as the causes for the different age-related changes with lips are different, so too are the plastic surgical treatments for them.
Lip enlargement with filler injections
A common method of lip enlargement is injecting the lips with dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Radiesse and Restalyn. In essence, all fillers work in the same way to increase lip volume by attracting water to the lips to bind the hyaluronic acid in these materials. The effects are temporary; in my experience, no matter what filler I use, the results are gone in six months, so I tell my patients to get the cheapest one!
The dermal skin fillers can also be used to fill in lip lines and elevate the corners of the mouth. The danger is having this done by an inexperienced injector who puts too much material in your lips and leaves you with that “duck look” we have all seen.
Lip augmentation with fat injections
Fat injections offer another method of enlarging the lips. Fat is removed by liposuction from one area and injected into the lips. The difficulty here is that the swelling and bruising after fat injections is much more than other fillers and also that its durability is much more variable. It works great in some patients and not at all in others.
Lip enlargement with dermal grafts
This technique is usually used when the plastic surgeon is performing another procedure at the same time, such as a facelift. Skin that is cut out is thinned to include only the dermis (the lower part of the skin) and then placed under the lip. Obviously this is a lot more traumatic than an injection, and you should expect your lips to be swollen for a few weeks. It can, however, be a longer-lasting result than with injections but is again a temporary solution. There are no permanent solutions for increasing lip volume that are any good.
Lip augmentation with foreign materials
Five years ago, the vogue was to try to pass strands of Gortex (yes, the same stuff clothes are made of) under the lip for a permanent enlargement. The lips got bigger for a while but then small again after the material had to be removed due to infection. I keep some of the strands in my drawer as a memento but do not use this technique.
Cosmetic lip lifts
These small surgeries are based on trying to decrease the distance between the red part of the lip and the nose by removing skin from the upper lip. The incisions are either placed under the nose sill or along the upper lip. Two millimeters of incisor show is the ideal amount of teeth that should be seen at repose in the upper lip, and these operations can do just that. Scars tend to be well hidden after some time.
Use of Botox
Finally, just a reminder that there is a place for the very judicious use of a small amount of Botox in the upper lip to decrease vertical lip lines. I use this in conjunction with my fillers for the best results.
There are a number of different cosmetic surgery options available for the improvement of plastic surgical results in the lips. Your board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon should be able to tell you which surgery is best for your needs.