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Lip Augmentation


Lip augmentation has recently become very popular. The reason is probably because people have begun to realize that full and pouty lips are obtainable without much downtime. As we age, the length between the nose and the upper lip lengthens and the lip itself gets smaller. This creates the flat, thin appearance of the lips that is very common as we get older. Lip augmentation is an effective way to predictably enhance either the upper lip, lower lip, or both.Compared to other procedures it is relatively low cost and can be done under local sedation.

There are 4 ways that most doctors usually perform lip augmentation. Two of them involve artificial materials and the other 2 are done with the patients owned tissue. The one that is right for you depends on what it is you want to accomplish.

The most common type of lip augmentation is done with injectable collagen. There are several types of injectable collagen. The results are becoming more and more long-term but still last no longer than a year. Using injectable collagen for lip augmentation has several significant benefits. One, it comes prepackaged and therefore does not require the doctor to have to obtain the necessary material from other parts of your body like fat transplantation. This allows the injection to be done quickly, almost painlessly, and at relatively low-cost. After the injection, the patient is asked to look into a mirror to see if the lip has been augmented enough. If the patient wants even fuller lips more collagen is injected. The downside of injectable collagen is that depending on the type of collagen used the results will last only 6 to 12 months. Many patients are very happy with this as it is not that inconvenient.

If the patient desires a more dramatic lip augmentation, the plastic surgeon usually uses another type of collagen that is not injectable. It is placed within the lip utilizing two very small incisions. The results last 1 to 2 years. The downside of this type of lip augmentation is that the associated swelling lasts about 5 to 7 days and it is a somewhat more involved procedure. Also the patient does not have the ability to look into the mirror and decide exactly what size lip she wants. But for those who want a more dramatic lip augmentation this is often the best way to go.

Some people desire a lip augmentation that is more permanent. Currently, all collagen will eventually go away. And alternative is to use your own fat usually harvested from your abdomen, specially prepared the plastic surgeon, and then transplanted into the lip. The advantages of this are obvious. The disadvantages are that only about half of the fat injected into lips survives permanently, therefore, the results are not as predictable as collagen. Another disadvantage is that the fat needs to be harvested utilizing liposuction. Quite often, the patient may desire liposuction anyway so this may or may not be a disadvantage. Thirdly, the fat injection can be slightly more lumpy than collagen injection. This is not usually visible but can, sometimes, be felt. Often, the best way to a approach fat transplantation into the lip or, for that matter, any part of the body is to consider that a second transplantation may be necessary to obtain the desired results. Fat is currently the best way to obtain a dramatic lip augmentation that is also permanent.

The fourth, and final, way that most plastic surgeons use to augment lips is by advancing local tissue from inside the lips outward to create a fuller, poutier lip. This technique is useful for someone who is interested in a mild to moderate lip augmentation that is permanent. The downside to this procedure is that it involves incisions on the inside of the lip which are not visible. Also, there is more swelling associated with this type of lip augmentation.

You have been given a lot of information here. Your plastic surgeon will go over it with you thoroughly during your consultation to determine what is best for you.


The benefits of full, pouty lips are obvious. They represent sensuality and attractiveness. Also, the fuller lips represent youth and as we age our lips become thinner. Lip augmentation, therefore, creates not only a more attractive but also more youthful appearance. Some of the benefits of lip augmentation are outlined below:

  • Creates fuller and poutier lips.
  • Rejuvenates thin and old appearing lips back to where they were during youth and maybe even a little bit fuller.
  • The procedure is predictable and can be adjusted easily.
  • The procedure is relatively quick and low-cost.
  • It has no or very little downtime.
  • There are several different types of lip augmentation depending on what you want to achieve.
  • It also improves wrinkles and age lines around the mouth.

Are you a good candidate?

Good candidates for lip augmentation are simply people who desire fuller, poutier lips. There are 2 categories of people that qualify as good candidates for lip augmentation. The first type is the person who was born with essentially normal lips but would like to have them larger to create a more sensual and attractive appearance. This is an excellent indication to have the procedure done as it does provide a very predictable way of achieving this.

The second type of person is the somewhat older person who has noticed that her lips have thinned over time. It also has become more noticeable that the distance between the bottom of her nose and the upper lip may have lengthened. This all contributes to a more aged appearance. This appearance that does not have the sensuality that one desires. This is another good indication for lip augmentation. Lip augmentation will correct, or at least improve, many of the characteristics of the aging lip. Not only will it provide a fuller and more sensual lip, but it will go a long way to reducing the fine wrinkles around the mouth.

Possible complications

Lip augmentation complications are rare but they must be discussed. The most common complication is that the results diminish over time especially with collagen. This is not really a complication as it should be expected. Fat, however, will persist. Other possible complications are inadequate volume, lumpiness, infection and wound healing problems, asymmetry, and allergic reaction.

With collagen injections allergy testing is necessary. The office of a plastic surgeon will have you come in for a quick, painless test dose. If you are allergic you will most likely react to the test dose within the first month. Usually, it is apparent after 3 days.

Do's and Don'ts prior to surgery

  • Medications. Certain medications thin blood and should not be taken within 3 weeks of surgery. The most notable is aspirin and aspirin containing products. Vitamin E and many herbal products also thin the blood and should discontinued. Your doctor will go over this more thoroughly prior to the procedure.

  • Sleep. It is important to get a good night's rest prior to the procedure. If you think this may be a problem, please, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for something to help you sleep.

  • Smoking. You must not smoke within 3 weeks before and after surgery. Smoking has a profound effect on reducing wound healing capabilities. It significantly increases the likelihood of infection, wound healing problems, and scar formation. It also affects your airway, what makes anesthesia much more difficult.

  • Washing. It is a good idea to wash the surgical area thoroughly the night before and the morning of surgery. You can wear makeup but obviously not lipstick.

  • State of mind. Remember, state of mind is critical. It affects not only your attitude but your immune system and your overall ability to heal. Excessive worrying can actually be detrimental and you should discuss this with your doctor prior to surgery so that something can be prescribed to make sure you remain calm.


Lip augmentation is typically done under local anesthesia or no anesthesia at all.

After the procedure

Collagen injection typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Implantation of collagen takes about one hour. Fat transplantation takes about 1.5 hour.

Immediately. Right after the procedure you will notice a big improvement within your lips. In fact, if you are having collagen injection you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror to determine if the desired augmentation has been achieved. Ice will be applied to your lips to minimize swelling. Most people get up immediately and are able to drive themselves home or back to work. Anyone who looks at you will know that something is different but may or may not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is.

That evening. There are no specific recommendations except that it is a good idea to sleep that evening with your had elevated to minimize swelling. Do not touch your lips too much.

First 48 hours. There will not be that much swelling but the little you have will resolve within 2 or 3 days.

Recovery time

With collagen injection, you are able to go back to work immediately; even that afternoon. If you have had collagen implanted or fat transplanted you will be off work for about a week.