What do Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Garner, and Kylie Jenner all have in common? The perfectly plump sexy pout that women of all ages are seeking. Lip augmentation procedures are currently a highly publicized and trending treatment thanks to these celebrities. Kylie Jenner's lips alone overtook social media with her #KylieJennerChallenge, allowing us to now be more comfortable talking about these procedures. In the age of the selfie and duck faces, we are increasingly much more aware of the appearance of our lips. This has, in all senses of the phrase, created a perfect storm. It is no wonder that a record number are seeking lip enhancement procedures. Popularity has grown amongst men as well who, most commonly, request Brad Pitt's full lips. In 2015, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons claimed the number of lip implants grew by double-digits with a total of 27,449 procedures performed, an astonishing one every 20 minutes. This is over a 40% increase since 2000 and the demand is continuing to grow.
What traditionally consisted of patients with lip deficiencies from aging, ablative procedures or congenital abnormalities, now consists of a much younger age group that desire full, well-defined lips with enhanced volume and shape. While there are multiple permanent and nonpermanent options for lip augmentation, the most commonly performed and requested today are synthetic dermal fillers, the most popular of which are the hyaluronic acid (HA)-based fillers. HA is typically present in body tissues, such as the skin and cartilage and is, therefore, relatively safe when used appropriately by a trained healthcare professional. These fillers include, but are not limited to, Restylane, Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Prevalle Silk, Perlane, and Belotero. Restylane Silk and Juvederm Ultra XC, however, are currently the only two fillers approved by the FDA for lip enhancement. Others can be used off-label per your healthcare professional. These fillers generally last 6 months to one year, therefore, touch-ups will be required to maintain the desired appearance. Properties of fillers such as stiffness and viscosity, and surgeon preference are taken into consideration when choosing a filler. The benefits of the HA fillers are they allow improved control and gradual filling of the lips. Contour irregularities or bumps from the material can be massaged out and even reversed with hyaluronidase, a medication that when injected dissolves the gel. It is important to remember that this is not a fool proof procedure. Risks include bruising, swelling, bleeding, and can lead to further complications if injected inadvertently into a nearby blood vessel.
When is lip augmentation the right choice for you? If you desire a fuller lip or feel self-conscious about the appearance of your lips, you should seek out a consultation. There are many available options, so it is important to do your homework. Obtain a consultation by a board-certified Plastic Surgeon who is trained in the safe use of these fillers, be open and honest about your desired lip, and you will be well on your way to that perfectly full and plump pout.
For more information, including a list of ASPS plastic surgeons in your community, please use our Find a Plastic Surgeon tool.