Lip augmentation is an important adjunct to facial rejuvenation. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen and the mouth loses volume. The lips thin, the corners of the lip droop, and the curvy and attractive Cupid’s bow flattens. The upper lip elongates and the lower lip drops from gravity. Sun exposure can cause dryness, color changes, and brown spots. Vertical lip lines and wrinkles around the mouth occur from normal facial movement. As women age, they notice that their lipstick tends to “bleed” into these wrinkles, regardless of whether or not they are smokers.
Therefore, the lips cannot be ignored when it comes to comprehensive facial rejuvenation. To learn about options for restoring fullness to your lips, call Desert Hills Plastic Surgery Center at (702) 260-7707 in Las Vegas to discuss lip augmentation.
What Is Lip Augmentation?
For both male and female patients, lip augmentation can improve genetically thin lips or excessive teeth or gum show with smiling and animation. Asymmetries of one or both lips can be improved upon with lip augmentation. Trauma, scars, or congenital deformities can be managed with lip procedures.
In the not so distant past, women were frequently enlarging their lips beyond normal proportions in response to visualizing beautiful women in the media such as Angelina Jolie and top models with naturally full lips. It seems the trend has settled down a bit as people have witnessed too many individuals having undesirable “overdone” lips with an unnatural duck-like appearance.
Think of actress Lisa Rinna, who is infamous for her distorted and unnatural lips from silicone injections. Numerous stories and images of “lips gone wrong” have helped to deter women from going overboard with lip injections.
The goals of lip augmentation are to provide a beautiful shape, with youthful, age-appropriate contours without sacrificing naturalness. The Cupid’s bow and upper lip philtral columns should be enhanced. There should be a natural fullness to the lower red lip. Anatomically, the lower lip is almost always naturally slightly fuller than the upper lip, so this balance should always be maintained. Ideally, no one should know that a procedure was done to enhance the lips. Results should be harmonious with your face, and not eye catching or disproportionate.
In addition, a beautiful mouth and smile is dependent on the condition of the underlying dentition, something that is often overlooked. Lip augmentation only goes so far if the underlying teeth are misaligned or in poor repair. Structural support of the lips with orthodontics and/or veneers if necessary should always been considered to maximize the result after lip augmentation. It is important to maintain an age-appropriate vertical anterior tooth display in rest position and normal conversation. Lip augmentation may not be aesthetically pleasing if the added volume hides all of the teeth when smiling.
Lip augmentation can be done as an isolated procedure or as part of any facial surgical procedure.
Lip Augmentation: Fillers
Fillers are probably the safest and most predictable method to enhance the lips. Plus, they are adjustable, forgiving, and correctable, should a patient desire a slight change. They can be performed in the office setting with little to no downtime or in surgery as an adjunct to a facelift, for example.
There are many different injectable fillers available to enhance the lips and treat associated lip wrinkles and downturned corners of the mouth. Most fillers last around 6-9 months, as the lips are very mobile, so product around the mouth can be metabolized fairly quickly. Juvederm is probably the best product out there right now, as the results are natural, usually nonperceptible, controllable, and the longevity is slightly better in the lips than the other hyaluronic acid products like Restylane.
Belotero works great for fine vertical lip lines around the mouth. Sculptra, Radiesse, Radiance, Artecoll, Artefill, Silicone and many other products are not safe to use around the mouth due to very high risks of nodules and complications.
Lip Augmentation: Fat
Fat is also a natural option to add volume to the lips. Fat is liposuctioned from an area of the body, prepared, and injected into the lips. It is a surgical procedure with some downtime, as swelling and bruising can be moderate to severe.
Results can be unpredictable, however, as about 50% of the graft can be reabsorbed. Touch up procedures may be required, and the outcomes can be very technique-dependent. Lumpiness or overcorrection can be very difficult to correct. Weight stability is also important if you are considering fat grafting, as weight gain or pregnancy can enlarge the fat disproportionately.
In the best of circumstances, fat grafts can be stable, natural, and long lasting. On the other hand, it is always possible that part or all of the fat gets reabsorbed over time.
Lip Augmentation: Other Options
Other filler substances, both natural and synthetic, can be used to add volume to the lips. Gortex is a permanent synthetic substance shaped like a tube that is inserted into the lips. Beware of permanent materials placed into the lip, as there are added risks of migration, contour irregularities, infection, exposure, and need for removal. Problems can be difficult to correct. Alloderm is a skin substitute, which tends to incorporate well into the lips with fewer complications. Dermal grafts (the deeper layers of skin) can also be taken from a patient and surgically inserted into the lips for fullness. Because the lips are so mobile, reabsorption of natural materials can be an issue.
Other surgical procedures can be used to improve the appearance of the aged lip. Lip lifts and corner-of-the-mouth lifts can rejuvenate the overall lip shape and appearance, however, visible scarring on the face are potential disadvantages.
To discuss your lip augmentation options, please contact our Las Vegas office online or call (702) 260-7707 today.