Second Quarter 2009, Volume 23, Number 4

How plump do you want them?

IN THIS ISSUE

Don’t stress the small stuff, it can lead to premature aging

Scar management: What types of scars respond best to varying treatments

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

How plump do you want them?

Full, voluptuous lips are stylish and a sign of youthfulness. Not only can plumper lips revitalize your smile, but also it will smooth unsightly lines around the lips. If you are looking for a quick and easy enhancement to your appearance—with a range of options to suit your budget—lip enhancement might be the right treatment for you.

There are three options to consider: injectable fillers, implants, and a surgical lift. Each has their advantages; the choice for you should be made with your physician after careful evaluation and education regarding your options.

A small gauge needle injects the filler into the lip border. There is minimal pain, minor swelling, and no recovery time. There are little to no side effects, with results showing immediately. The length of time that the fillers remain depends on the substance used. Fillers are derived from collagen, hyaluronic acid, or synthetic material. Collagen typically lasts between three to five months. Hyaluronic acid (Restylane® or Juvederm®) is biodegradable with results lasting six to nine months. A synthetic material such as Radiesse® is made from synthetic calcium composite and lasts two to five years. Sculptra® is made of synthetic polylactic acid that is contained in microspheres; it can last up to two years.

Implants are surgically placed from the corners of the inside of the lips. There may be mild swelling for three to five days and the results are permanent. A synthetic implant, such as expandedolytetrafluoroethylene (e-PTFE), has small pores throughout the material that allows for tissue ingrowth. The implant material becomes incorporated with the body in a natural way. Sensation and function of the lips are not affected by this procedure. There are also implants available that are derived from processed human tissue, such as Alloderm®. The results, however, are not permanent, diminishing after six to 12 months.

The lift lip surgically shortens the distance between the bottom of the nose and the top of the upper lip to give the appearance of greater fullness. An incision is made in the upper lip that follows the lip line. A section of skin is removed and the lip is lifted to create a fuller look with more pout.

If you are considering lip enhancement but are not sure if it is right for you, start with an injectable filler. This will give you a temporary taste of how you would look. If you have already tried temporary procedures, maybe now is a good time to try something more permanent. Make an appointment to speak with your facial plastic surgeon; together you can plan the optimal treatment for you.