American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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This kiss, this kiss: Exploring the love story patients have with lip fillers

exploring the love story patients have with lip fillers

Buy a box of chocolates, revamp your dating profile and get ready because Valentine's Day is almost here! Love is in the air, which means taunting trysts, playful pecks and passionate kisses are not far behind.

When it comes to smooching, it's no secret that Americans are having a love affair with lip fillers. More than one million people got the procedure last year, according to the 2022 ASPS Procedural Statistics Release. However, does perfecting your pout impact your pucker power?

Pillowy, soft, full lips may look gorgeous on your Instagram feed, but will you or your kissing partner be able to tell your lips came from a doctor and not Mother Nature? What type of filler can give you your dream lip look without sacrificing your ability to kiss to your heart's content?

Fillers for the perfect playful peck

The word "injectables" is a blanket term. However, not all injectable fillers are created equal. Some injectable fillers are better suited to the jaw and cheeks than the lips.

If you are searching for the perfect pout and want a natural look and feel, hyaluronic acid injectables like Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Ultra Plus and Restylane are your best options. These fillers pump up the volume, adding fullness and contour to the lips while yielding a soft and natural texture.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in high concentrations in the human body's soft connective tissues and the fluid surrounding the eyes. It is also a wildly popular ingredient in skin care products, known for increasing skin moisture content and reducing fine lines' appearance. This type of filler can also be easily dissolved if complications occur.

Know an enhanced kisser is likely to cost you. The average physician fee in 2022 for lip augmentation with filler was $743. Lip filler is also not permanent. You'll need ongoing treatments to maintain results.

Do lip fillers change how kissing feels for you and your partner?

So... does getting injectable lip filler change how kissing feels for you or your partner? It's a question many people are curious about, but few dare to ask their physician. There is no shame in talking to your doctor and getting as much information as possible about how a medical procedure may change your body beyond your aesthetic goals.

Injectable lip fillers enhance your lips' natural shape and contours, giving them a fuller appearance. Does this increase in fullness translate into a change in sensation? Will your partner be able to tell you have lip filler the next time they move in for a passionate smooch? The answer? It depends.

ASPS Member Surgeon Smita Ramanadham, MD, said injectable lip filler should not change how kissing feels when you aim for an enhanced but moderate effect.

"I think the biggest thing to keep in mind with lip filler is that if it is done with the goal of providing a natural result, you are not going to notice much in either sensation when you're kissing or when someone else is kissing you," said Ramanadham.

Hyaluronic acid lip injectables can give you a plump pout, push out fine lines, add volume to your lips and increase symmetry. The result? A soft and natural result that looks stunning but does not significantly change the texture or feel of your lips when you pucker up.

Your new "you but better lips" should not impact how you eat, drink, talk or even smooch.

"You shouldn't feel lumps, bumps or graininess," said ASPS Member Surgeon Sara Dickie, MD. "You shouldn't feel texture."

Better still, your kissing partner shouldn't be able to tell the difference.

So, when do lip injections impact how you kiss? Overfilling or exaggerating lips with injectable filler can change the shape of the mouth, impacting surrounding anatomy and muscle function. Kissing can feel different when you change the overall shape of the lips, mouth and surrounding structures.

"The lips are going to be the most mobile part of our face," said Ramanadham. "Overdone fillers in the facial structures alone... you lose some of the normal movement of your face when you smile or talk."

In fact, eating, drinking and talking can feel slightly different. It may take time to adjust to the changes. Overfilling lips with injectables may change their texture, so partners may notice the difference when kissing.

Dickie said in some cases patients comment to her that their lips can feel numb one to two weeks after a lip procedure. Some residual numbness may impact how kissing feels in the short term.

"That (numbness) typically goes away once the filler integrates into the tissue," said Dickie.

Just a note about puckering up your pout after getting filler: You should avoid kissing for 24 hours after the procedure so the filler doesn't migrate and the injection sites are not exposed to bacteria, which can lead to infection.

The verdict

Natural lip enhancement with injectables should not impact your pucker power. You also shouldn't have to worry about your partner being able to kiss and tell that Mother Nature shorted you in the lip department. Your secret is safe with your doctor.

However, Ramanadham cautions people about running out to get lip injectables done ahead of the Valentine's Day holiday. She recommends patients new to injectables see their doctor two to three weeks before an event if they want to plump their pout. This timeframe gives an individual time to heal from potential swelling and discoloration before their big day.

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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