Lip augmentation creates lips that are plumper and fuller while reducing the visibility of wrinkles around the mouth. There are several methods used to augment the mouth, including the injection of collagen or fat cells transferred from another part of the patient’s body as well as the injection of synthetic dermal fillers.
Are You a Good Candidate?
In order to undergo lip augmentation, you must be in good overall health with realistic expectations about the outcome of these injections. While you can improve your natural appearance through the use of lip implants or injections, these are not typically designed to radically alter your appearance. If you have oral herpes or other health conditions impacting your mouth, you may not be a good candidate. Smokers, as well as those with diabetes or blood circulation issues may experience a higher rate of complications.
Lip Augmentation Procedures
There are several methods used to augment the lips. While most are performed in a similar manner, there are a few important differences.
- Autologous grafts – Your own fat cells or collagen can be extracted from one part of the body and injected into your lips. There is no risk of an allergic reaction, but the body will reabsorb this injection over time, so the results are temporary. In addition, there is the need to remove the collagen or fat (either by liposuction or using traditional surgical methods) before it can be processed and injected back into the body.
- Bovine collagen – Derived from cows, this injection usually lasts between 1 and 3 months, making it the most temporary option. This is a good method for those who want to ‘try out’ lip augmentation without making a longer-term commitment.
- Synthetic solutions, including Restylane, Hylaform, Juvederm, and Artefill injections are some of the most popular methods of lip augmentation. They vary in terms of effectiveness, from a few weeks to a few years. Many of these not only plump the lips by the volume of solution injected into the body, but also stimulate the production of natural collagen, providing a more permanent solution.
- Synthetic implants – made of silicone, ePTFE or Gore-Tex, these are made of a firmer material, and are implanted in one piece into the lips. These are less common due to the incision needed to insert the material into the lips but provide a permanent solution.
Lip augmentation is performed on an outpatient basis in the doctor’s office. If there is a risk of allergic reaction with the material you have chosen, an allergy test may be conducted during a separate office visit to determine whether you are allergic. If no reaction occurs over several days, you can return for lip augmentation injections. First, the doctor will apply a topical or local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort during the injection. Then, the selected material is injected into the lips. Depending on the material used, it may require one injection or several injections into separate areas of the lips.
Possible Complications & Risks
Lip augmentation is considered a minimally invasive procedure with a lower risk of complications when compared with other types of cosmetic surgery. The risks are dependent on the type of filler material you choose. These can include infection, allergic reaction, and migration of the implanted or injected material.
After the procedure, most patients find that they are able to continue their normal daily routines with no downtime. There may be some swelling or bruising for a few days after the procedure. During this time, avoid rubbing or touching your lips as this can cause the injected material to migrate. In general, the lip augmentation recovery period is slightly longer with Autologous grafts and synthetic implants than with bovine collagen or injected synthetics.
Cost of Lip Augmentation
Depending on the method chosen, the experience of the surgeon, and the geographic location, lip injections cost usually between $200 and $600 per session, while grafts and lip implants cost about $2,000.