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All about the lips: An insider overview of lip augmentation procedures

insider overview of lip augmentation procedures

Lip augmentation is probably one of the most well-known and popular cosmetic procedures. In the age of social media, having the picture-perfect pout has quickly become highly sought after.

For those unhappy with the shape of their lips or their fullness, lip augmentation is a great option to help them achieve the look they are after. From traditional fillers to surgical implants and everything in between, there are many methods and means of lip augmentation to help anyone craft their dream lips.

If you're interested in learning more about lip augmentation and the variety of options for creating the perfect pout, we have you covered. We reached out to two experts in this field – ASPS Member Surgeon Karen Horton, MD, MSc, FACS, FRCSC, and her aesthetic nurse practitioner Emily Sespaniak, MSN, NP-C – for their insights on this type of procedure and a breakdown of what you can expect from surgical and noninvasive lip augmentation options.

The ins and outs of modern lip augmentation procedures

When considering lip augmentation, there is no doubt that you are familiar with the tried-and-true method of using injectable fillers. These fillers are carefully injected at key areas in the lip to balance the shape and increase fullness, depending on what the patient wants.

"When it comes to lip augmentation, there are several treatment options available depending on the patient's aesthetic goals," said Sespaniak. "If the patient is looking for a fuller appearance, there are several hyaluronic acid dermal filler options to choose from depending on the look the patient is going for."

Another less popular method of lip augmentation is through the use of implants. Once used regularly, many surgeons are moving away from these procedures due to the risk of complications.

"These can become infected, be visible or palpable and can extrude through the lip, creating scarring and deformity," said Dr. Horton. "We do not recommend insertion of lip implants due to the real risk of complications."

Additionally, fat grafting is becoming another popular option for lip augmentation, which offers longer-lasting results than dermal fillers. This method uses fat harvested from other parts of your body using liposuction and then purifies it before reinjecting it into your lips for a fuller look.

Popular procedures and techniques to achieve fuller lips

Now that we've covered the basics of lip augmentation, let's discuss the most popular procedures on the market. Overfilled lips were a trend in the past decade, but recent years are shifting towards a more natural look.

"The current trend seems to be subtle lip augmentation," said Sespaniak. "We are seeing fewer requests for really full lips and more requests for a 'my lips but better' look."

Some patients want to undo past cosmetic work as the trend moves toward a more subtle enhancement. Fortunately, injectables are easier to reverse than surgical procedures.

"Correcting overfilled lips by dissolving filler is also a request we receive," said Dr. Horton. "After the filler has been dissolved, we recommend a period of weeks to months to allow for swelling to resolve before considering any additional augmentation technique."

One such method that is growing in popularity in the 'my lips but better' aesthetic is the Botox lip flip. This procedure involves the use of Botox to create a subtly fuller lip rather than traditional fillers.

"For example, if the patient is overall happy with the size and shape of their lips but feels they lose the fullness of their upper lip when smiling, we can inject a small amount of neuromodulator to relax the upper lip muscle to stop the inversion of the upper lip when the patient smiles," said Sespaniak. "This is commonly known as a Botox lip flip."

The future of lip augmentation

As lip augmentation continues to grow in popularity, there has been a continued focus on advancements within this field. From new technologies to new filler options, there are several innovations on the horizon.

"The injectable product options for the lips are improving, and I think the market demand for conservative lip augmentation is creating a push for softer, better injectable options for the lips specifically," said Sespaniak.

One such advancement is the introduction of Skinvive to the United States market at the end of 2023. This product is showing a lot of promise in the world of lip augmentation.

"Skinvive is marketed for increasing the skin's hydration, but I think we will see many people using this and similar skin boosters to create more subtle lip augmentation results," said Sespaniak. "If the patient is concerned with wrinkling and loss of smoothness in the appearance of the lips but does not want to increase lip size, Skinvive increases hydration without adding volume."

Maximizing your lip augmentation results

It goes without saying that with any cosmetic procedure, there are certain steps that you can take and ways that you can prepare to maximize your results. Here is what our experts would recommend doing for lip augmentation.

Really do your research

As with any procedure, both surgical and noninvasive, it's important to do extensive research before you take the plunge on lip augmentation.

"For the very best filler results, preparation is key," said Sespaniak. "Do your research and schedule a consultation with an experienced injector at the office of a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will work with you to create a treatment plan designed to help you reach your aesthetic goals."

Follow pre- and post-treatment instructions

In addition to doing your homework prior to committing to undergoing lip augmentation, make sure that you actually follow the pre- and post-treatment instructions. Your practitioner will be able to advise you on exactly what to do to push your recovery along smoothly and reach the results that you want.

"This will include avoiding certain medications and supplements that can increase bleeding/bruising risk, as well as ways to keep post-treatment swelling to a minimum," said Sespaniak. "Follow these instructions for a smoother healing process and optimal results."

Plan ahead for when you'll have your procedure

Keeping an eye on your calendar is something that is overlooked with this type of procedure. While it does have minimal downtime, the results may not be immediate, and it may take some time for bruising and swelling to go down.

"Allow for several weeks to pass before a big event like a party, public speaking engagement or close-up photographs, as swelling is expected and results will not be final for this period of time," said Dr. Horton.

Achieving your dream pout

Lip augmentation is arguably one of the most well-known and sought-after procedures in the world of plastic surgery. From less popular surgical options such as implants to more common noninvasive options such as fillers, there are so many ways to achieve the lips that you are dreaming of in this day and age.

With the ever-growing popularity of lip augmentation comes plenty of opportunities for new advancements and treatments in the field. It's exciting to consider what the future holds!

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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