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Lip Augmentation and Implants

Lip Augmentation Defined

Lip augmentation is the enhancement of the lips using a cosmetic filler, fat transfer or lip implants. There are several types of fillers and implant devices available, including the following.

Human-Based Collagen Lip Augmentation

This lip enhancement procedure uses human-based collagen — injectable fillers such as Cosmoderm, Cymetra, Autologen, Cosmoplast or Fascian — to create fuller lips. These manufactured human-based collagen fillers are biocompatible and create results that typically last four months or longer.

During this lip augmentation procedure, the lip area is usually overfilled, as up to 40 percent of the collagen will dissipate within a small amount of time. Repeated treatments will cause more of the collagen to remain in the lip area, creating longer-lasting results that may eventually last a lifetime.

Hyaluronic Acid-Derived Lip Augmentation

This lip augmentation procedure uses a hyaluronic acid-based injectable filler such as Restylane, Juvederm, Perlane, Belotero or Hylaform to plump up the lips. Because hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in human tissue and skin, it is not only safe to use, but also provides results that last even longer than collagen-based fillers.

Fat Transfer Lip Augmentation

During the lip augmentation procedure using a fat transfer, your doctor may extract fat cells from a discreet area of the body (for example, the buttocks), prepare the extracted fat cells and then transfer them through an injection to the lip area. Surgeons use various techniques to prepare the transferred fat cells. The technique used may impact the longevity of the results.

Fat transfer results may be unpredictable, but in many cases provide longer lasting results than those achieved with a filler.

Lip Implants

The lip implant procedure inserts synthetic materials into the lips to plump them up. This process involves making tiny incisions at the corners of the lips and other areas around the lips, where a needle is then inserted. The synthetic materials injected may include Gore-Tex (a material called ePTFE, which is made of biocompatible polymer), SoftForm (a soft form of ePTFE that comes in a circular shape) and AlloDerm (a substance derived from human tissue). Bellafill also fits into the implant category, because the PMMA microspheres anchor in the lips after the bovine collagen product is absorbed.

Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a pair of naturally beautiful lips. The few who are don't get to keep them without a little help. Over time, the corners of the mouth begin to droop, and the upper lip flattens and loses its youthful fullness. Vertical wrinkles above the upper lip cause the lipstick to bleed. That once sensual look is gone or is greatly reduced. Thanks to today's many medical advances there is help. Aging lips can be rejuvenated and less full lips can be enhanced through a process called Lip Augmentation.

History Of The Procedure

Augmentation of the lip has been performed for cosmetic reasons for a long time. Women of all ethnic and social backgrounds have applied cosmetics to their lips to define or alter their appearance since the Stone Age.

Tribal ceremonies involving the introduction of various materials in the upper and lower lip to alter their shape, usually with the intent to enlarge them, have been practiced in African tribes for centuries.

Modern Times

During the past decade, the size and shape of lips has gained special attention and prominence in the sphere of cosmetic surgery. Enhanced, full, sensuous lips have become the accepted standard as a characteristic of beauty. Great emphasis has been placed on the full lip in glamour and fashion magazines, which has influenced millions of women to achieve this look.

Lip augmentation, enhancement and lip implants

Basically, lip augmentation is the magnification of the lips with a cosmetic facial filler, fat transfer, or lip implants to create fuller lips. Several types of fillers and implants are available, including the following.

Human-based collagen lip augmentation

During the lip augmentation procedure using human-based collagen, your doctor may inject a manufactured human-based collagen filler such as Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast, Cymetra, Autologen, Fascian, and most recently, Evolence, to fill the lip area. Human-based collagen fillers are biocompatible and offer results that may last for four or more months.

It is important to note that the lip area is typically overfilled initially, because up to 40% of the collagen dissipates within a short period of time. Furthermore, as collagen treatments continue over time, more and more of the collagen remains and creates a greater opportunity for increased longevity, in some cases lasting a lifetime.

Hyaluronic acid-derived lip augmentation

During the lip augmentation procedure using hyaluronic acid, your doctor will inject a hyaluronic acid solution to fill the lip area. Hyaluronic acid is a safe, clear gel composed of a naturally occurring polysaccharide (a carbohydrate) that exists in human tissues and skin. Hyaluronic acid fillers are said to offer longer lasting results than collagen-based fillers. Brand names of these fillers include Restylane, Juvederm, and Hylaform.

Fat transfer lip augmentation

Fat transfer is an excellent technique for lip augmentation as it offers the only natural method for potential permanent results. Fat is aspirated from another part of the body, such as the abdomen or thigh, and then injected into the lips. Since fat cells are living tissue, the body will recognize them and new capillaries will attach to the cells to keep them permanently alive. Since the fat cells are from the patient's own body, they are not recognized as foreign and will not cause an allergic reaction. The fat transfer technique usually requires at least two to three treatments to achieve a permanent result as the body reabsorbs much of the injected fat.

Lip implants

During a lip implant procedure, synthetic materials are inserted with a needle through small incisions that are typically made at the corners of the lips and sometimes in other areas of the lips. Several types of implantable products are used, including Gore-Tex (a biocompatible polymer material called ePTFE that is used for other unrelated surgeries), SoftForm (ePTFE that comes in a circular shape and may be softer than implants of the past), Advanta, and AlloDerm. Although there are some incidence of problems with these implants, most patients are satisfied with the results and they do offer a permanent solution, unlike most other techniques.

Final reminders

Presently, there are so many options available for those who are seeking lip augmentation. Truly, it is difficult for the patient to select what would be the best technique for their anatomy and budget. Also, there are so many new practitioners entering the field of cosmetic surgery that it is difficult for patients to choose.

But it is without question that the one absolute truth about lip augmentation is that successful lip augmentation is highly dependent on the skill of the provider, with that skill stemming from many years of experience injecting the lips of many types of patients.

Restore your lips to their fullest, most youthful, and most sensual appearance today!

If you are considering lip augmentation, please schedule an appointment at The Kass Center for Cosmetic Facial and Eye Plastic Surgery.