Lip Enhancement

Get Fuller and Youthful Lips With Lip Enhancement

Full lips are considered youthful. Lip enhancement (also known as lip augmentation) can be achieved in a variety of manners.  Many patients opt for enhancement using absorbable fillers, which are injected into the lips; but there are also surgical options available for those interested in a more permanent solution. A large number of people are now opting for lip enhancement and many are pleased with the results. It is important to learn about the procedure and what to expect so that you are fully prepared.

Candidates for Lip Enhancement

You can consider lip enhancement if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Your lips are thin and they tend to disappear when you smile
  • Your lips have become less full and thinner due to age
  • You are self-conscious about the appearance of your lips
  • Having a lip enhancement would help balance out the shape of your face

Know your Options

There are several options at your disposal to help you achieve fuller lips. You can opt for lip injection done using natural or synthetic fillers. These fillers can last for several months and you will need regular retouch to keep them full. For permanent solutions, you can go for lip implants or surgical procedures.  Recovery can vary from a day or two to several weeks depending on the procedure you choose.

Injectable Lip Fillers

Injectable lips fillers are substances that are injected directly into the lip.  There are several types of filler materials that provide lip enhancement.  The fillers will differ in terms of their composition and their thickness or firmness.  Most of these products will dissolve slowly over several months. The fillers can be injected in the office using topical anesthesia creams or local anesthetics.  Natural body fat can also be injected as a filler. For this procedure, a small amount of fat is removed from your body (typically through a small incision inside the belly button), processed, and then re-injected into the lips.  Some fat will be reabsorbed following the procedure, but the remaining fat will typically be permanent.      

Lip Enhancement Surgery
There are several surgical procedures. Your surgeon will explain to you all the options. The procedure recommended may be based on the recovery time frame and your personal aesthetic goals. In some cases, the surgeon may conduct two or even more procedures to achieve the best look for you. Lip enhancement surgery procedures include the following:
  • Surgery-Dermal Graft
    This is a permanent lip augmentation procedure. A dermal graft can be taken from the thighs or deeper layers of the skin. This graft is then surgically positioned on the lip lining (under the mucosa) so as to achieve plumpness.
  • Surgical-Lip Implant
    Lip implants are inserted by making tiny incisions on the corners of the lips. Natural or synthetic materials are used depending on the desired results. 
  • Surgery-Lip Lift
    If you have a longer distance than desirable between your nose and upper lip, then lip lift surgery could be an option for you. To get the upper lip fullness, an incision can be made right under the nose so as to shorten the skin and then the lip is pulled upward. There are other lip techniques which can be used to shorten the upper lip so as to expose the teeth. If your lip has a downward turn, the surgeon can make incisions on the sides. The incisions allow for extra skin to be removed. Sutures are normally used when conducting a surgical lip lift. The sutures can be removed after 5 days, or as your surgeon directs.
  • Surgery-Vermillion Advancement
    Vermillion advancement is a procedure that involves making an incision along the borders of the lips. A strip of the skin is removed outside the lip border. The rest of the skin along the border of the lips is pulled to achieve fullness.

What to Expect After Surgery or Procedure

If the lip enhancement procedure involves the use of grafts or implants, it may take about two weeks for a patient to recover. It is best to discuss beforehand how much time you need to recover so that you can take time off work. At a minimum, you may be away from work for at least three days. It is also advisable to keep off rigorous physical activity for some time after getting injections or surgical implants.

Other Considerations

Once the procedure is done, it is good to have someone take you back home. Local anesthesia may be used during the procedure and you may not be in the best shape to drive yourself home. Smokers are normally advised to stop smoking a few days before the procedure, or some surgeons may have stricter policies regarding smoking. On the day of the procedure, please ensure that you wear loose fitting clothes. This way you will not pull the clothes over your face.

Home Recovery Preparations

Before the procedure, ensure that you prepare your home for your recovery by undertaking the following:

  • Having comfortable pillows

  • Take plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and jello because you may experience discomfort when chewing.

Fuller and youthful lips are just a surgical or filler procedure away.

Medical content written by the AAFPRS Multimedia Committee
Medical content reviewed/approved by Dr. Samuel M. Lam and Dr. Albert J. Fox