Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure done to give you fuller, plumper lips. Injectable dermal filler is the most commonly used method these days. Many types of dermal fillers can be injected into your lips and around your mouth, but the most common ones today are products that contain natural substances similar to hyaluronic acid, which is a natural substance found in the body.
Other methods to plump lips include collagen, fat injections and implants, but they aren’t used as much today because the newer options are safer and the effects last longer. The results vary using fat injections and implants and there’s a greater risk of side effects.
Uses for Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Hyaluronic acid fillers can improve the appearance of your lips by adding shape, structure and volume. Effects usually last around six months, after which more injections are needed to keep the volume of your lips.
Different Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Hyaluronic acid fillers on the market include:
- Restylane, Restylane-L, Restylane Silk
- Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Ultra Plus
- Belotero Balance
- Prevelle Silk
These products are all injected in the same way and give similar results. Some contain a local anesthetic called lidocaine.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Hyaluronic acid fillers give you the following benefits:
Control over lip volume – The doctor has better control over how much lip volume is created because the amount of the filler injected can be controlled.
Gradual pace of treatment – Injections can be given gradually over a period of time until the desired results are achieved.
Bumps dissolve easily –Any lumps and bumps created by movement of the lips can be easily dissolved.
Less bruising – There is often less bruising and swelling compared to other dermal fillers.
Long-lasting results – While results aren’t permanent, they’re reasonably long-lasting.
Allergic reaction is unlikely – Hyaluronic acid fillers are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction because they are made from substances similar to those found in the body.
What to Expect During a Filler Procedure
Injectable lip augmentation techniques can be performed quickly in your doctor’s office with little or no downtime, unless you choose a fat injection. In that case, the procedure requires a small area of liposuction to remove fat from another part of your body first.
A topical or local numbing agent may be applied to ease discomfort before the injections. Sometimes, injections can be given before the treatment to completely numb the lips. This is similar to the anesthetic injections that a dentist will give you to numb your mouth.
Areas to be injected are carefully marked. Very fine needles are used to inject the substance into your lips. Afterward, ice may be used to ease discomfort and control swelling but no firm pressure should be put on the treatment area.
Avoid using lipstick or other lip products immediately after the procedure. You should be able to notice a difference immediately and, after you have healed your lips should feel natural.
Risks and Side Effects
Side effects from hyaluronic acid fillers are temporary and should only last a few days. You may experience:
- Bleeding from the injection sites
- Swelling and bruising
- Redness and tenderness at the injection site
Serious risks and side effects may include:
- Severe and prolonged swelling or bruising lasting from one week to 10 days
- Lip asymmetry (parts of lips are different sizes)
- Lumps and irregularities in the lips
- Injection into a blood vessel, causing tissue loss
- Ulceration, scarring or stiffening of the lip
- Allergic reaction causing redness, swelling or itching around the lips
If you experience extreme swelling or develop a fever, call your doctor immediately.
Cost of Lip Augmentation
The cost of lip augmentation varies depending on:
- The type of procedure performed
- The doctor’s experience
- Where you live
The cost will depend on how many injections are needed because fillers are usually priced per injected syringe.
Most health insurance plans won’t cover cosmetic surgery or any complications associated with it. Make sure you understand all the charges and ask if your doctor offers a payment plan, before undergoing the procedure.
Is Lip Augmentation Right for You?
You shouldn’t undergo this procedure unless you truly want to change your appearance. Think twice before doing it to make someone else happy or to fit an ideal image. It’s important to understand that, although your lips will be plumper and fuller, you’ll still be you.
Discuss the pros and cons of your lip augmentation options and the technique and product best for you with your doctor.
You should be in good health and be a non-smoker before undergoing lip augmentation. You might not be a candidate for this procedure if you have one of the following conditions:
- An infection such as oral herpes
- Blood-clotting problems
If you’ve ever had a cold sore (oral herpes) in the past, you should tell your doctor before undergoing the procedure. Any known allergies or an allergy to lidocaine should also be reported to your doctor. Tell your doctor about any prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements you’re taking.