Am I a Good Candidate for Lip Augmentation?
There are many reasons why a person would want to undergo lip enhancement. This includes:
Achieving a more sensuous look
- Providing more balance to facial features
- Restoring lost volume and shape
- Increasing self-confidence in their appearance
Be sure to discuss your own reasons with the cosmetic surgeon during your consultation visit.
Types of Fillers Used in Lip Augmentation
There are various methods used to augment the lips, including the use of implants. The most common way to increase lip size is with injectable fillers. The following are just some of the more common fillers used, including Restylane, a recent development in cosmetic surgery. Each of these fillers has its own set of benefits and risks.
The most common are:
A protein found in our bodies, collagen provides support to various areas of the body, including the lips. For cosmetic surgery purposes, collagen is produced from purified bovine tissue collagen. This product can be produced in various thicknesses to meet individual patient needs. However, a skin test for allergic reactions is required before receiving collagen.
Fat from one’s own body is another form of filler used to plump the lips. Because the fat comes from the patient’s body, there is no risk of any allergic reaction occurring.
This product is a non-animal, biodegradable gel based on hyaluronic acid, another substance found in our own bodies. Because collagen is non-animal based, an allergic reaction occurring is highly unlikely.
If you would like to know more about other fillers, or about other lip augmentation methods (besides injectables), please ask your cosmetic surgeon.
How is this procedure performed?
Lip augmentation with injectable fillers is a quick and easy procedure. The procedure typically lasts about 30 minutes, depending on the patient. Lip augmentation is relatively painless, because a local anesthetic is usually administered. Variations to the techniques are used during lip augmentation, depending upon the type of filler.
For collagen injections, a skin test is performed weeks before the procedure. This helps determine if any allergic reaction could possibly occur. If the test finds there is no risk of allergy, the collagen is then injected.
During fat injections, both the donor and the recipient sites are treated with anesthesia. Then, fat is withdrawn with a cannula (a surgical suction instrument) or a syringe. When harvested and prepared, the fat is injected into the patient’s lips.
For Restylane, no skin test is required. The gel is injected into the inside of the upper or lower lips in tiny amounts with a very fine needle. As a result, it adds volume and shape to the lips.
For information on the other techniques used for lip augmentation, please consult your cosmetic surgeon.
How long do the results of lip augmentation last?
The results of lip augmentation vary from patient to patient. However, bear in mind with any injectable fillers used for lip augmentation, results are only temporary because the body eventually absorbs the material. Results also depend upon the type of filler used. The following are the various longevity periods for the more common fillers:
The majority of patients notice half of their lip fullness disappearing within three to six months after the procedure. However, some patients have received fuller lips that last a year or more.
The life of collagen injections depend upon the patient’s lifestyle and physical characteristics as well as the part of the body treated. The areas of the body more affected by muscle movement will experience a faster disappearance when collagen is used. Typically, lip augmentation lasts anywhere from three to six months.
Clinical experience with Restylane has shown this product can remain effective for six months. A touch-up treatment, performed a few weeks after the initial treatment, is recommended to achieve better results and adds to the lips’ duration.
What are risks associated with lip augmentation?
Various risks are associated with the different types of fillers used for enhancing lips. Risks vary depending upon the patient’s reaction to the fillers and the patient’s healing abilities.
The risk involved with collagen is the possibility of an allergic reaction, which is reduced through skin tests. Although the substance is derived from purified bovine tissue, there have been concerns about mad cow disease being transmitted through collagen injections. That risk is mitigated, however, because collagen cattle are kept in quarantined herds.
Even though there is no risk of allergic reaction, there is always the possibility of infection or other infrequent complications.
While infrequent, potential side effects associated with the use of Restylane include: redness, bruising, swelling, tenderness and moderate pain. Side effects typically dissipate within a few days.
For risks associated with other fillers, again, ask your cosmetic surgeon.
What are the typical costs associated with lip augmentation?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2010 Average Surgeon/Physicians Fees, the national average cost of lip augmentation other than injectable materials is $1,683. For patients receiving injectable fillers, costs vary depending upon the type of filler. The national average cost of fat injections is $1,700 and collagen is $470. Surgeon fees may vary depending on if the practice is in an urban, suburban, or rural area. The national average fee covers the surgeon’s fee only and does not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with your surgeon.