Looking for that perfect bee-stung pout? You may be thinking about getting lip augmentation – a common, non-surgical cosmetic procedure that can give you fuller, plumper lips.
There are many brands of dermal fillers a skilled cosmetic surgeon can inject into your lips and around your mouth. Today, the most popular fillers for both patients and doctors are gel-based products made with hyaluronic acid, * a substance found naturally in the human body that has the unique ability to attract and retain water.
Hyaluronic acid fillers can improve the appearance of your lips by adding volume, as well as improving the shape and structure of your lips and mouth. The effects of HA-based fillers typically last around four to six months; after that, you will need additional injections to maintain the look of your lips.
Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
The benefits of using hyaloronic acid fillers include:
- Control over lip volume – A skilled cosmetic injector has a high level of control over how much lip volume is created.
- Gradual pace of treatment – You can choose to get a series of injections over different appointments until your mouth and lips have reached your desired appearance.
- Bumps dissolve easily – With a gel-based filler, any lumps and bumps created by movement of the lips after your injection can be dissolved easily by having hyaluronidase injected into the bumpy area.
- Less bruising – There may be less bruising and swelling with lip injections, compared to other facial locations.
- Minimally invasive – There is no need for a lengthy recovery process after getting lip augmentation with fillers.
- Allergic reaction is unlikely – Because hyaluronic acid fillers are made from biocompatible substances, it’s doubtful they will cause an allergic reaction. However, if you are sensitive to the topical numbing agent lidocaine, tell your doctor if this is the pathway for reducing the discomfort of your injection treatment.
What to Expect During and After the Procedure
Lip augmentation injections are a quick, in-office treatment with little to no downtime. Before the injections, you may ask your doctor for a numbing agent to ease discomfort. This may be either a topical local anesthetic, or a nerve block injection to completely numb your lips and mouth. Another option is to have nitrous oxide, “laughing gas” provided to you prior to your treatment. This inhaled gas has a quick onset and no after effects.
After carefully marking the areas to be injected, the doctor will use a very fine needle to inject the filler into your lips.
Following injection, you may experience swelling or bruising. If this is the case, you can use ice packs to minimize these side effects; however, be sure not to put firm pressure on your lips.
You should be able to notice a difference immediately. After you have healed, your lips should look and feel completely natural.
Side Effects of Lip Fillers
The side effects of hyaluronic acid fillers are mild, and should only last a few days. Risks are very minimal when the procedure is performed by a skilled cosmetic surgeon. They may include:
- Bleeding from the injection sites
- Swelling and bruising
- Redness and tenderness at the injection sites
- Recurrence of cold sores or fever blisters surrounding the lips or mouth
- Lip asymmetry
More serious (and rare) side effects may include:
- Severe and lengthy swelling or bruising – more than one week
- Irregular re-absorption
- Lumps and irregularities in the lips
- Injection into a blood vessel, which may cause tissue loss – should be noticed within 24 hours after your injection
- Ulceration, or stiffening of the lip
- Allergic reaction that leads to redness, swelling or itching around the lips
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above.
Is Lip Augmentation Right for You?
To answer this question, the first thing to ask yourself is what’s motivating you to change the shape of your lips. You should not undergo any type of cosmetic procedure unless your goal is to modify your appearance because YOU want it. If you are considering lip augmentation to fulfill another person’s wishes or to conform to someone else’s standards of beauty, you may want to reconsider.
Also, it’s important to have realistic expectations about the outcome. Enhancing your lips and mouth may make the contour of your lips fuller or improve your self-esteem, but it will not fundamentally change who you are as a person.
Before undergoing lip augmentation, schedule a consultation with your qualified cosmetic surgeon to discuss your lip augmentation options and help you decide which technique or product is best for you. This appointment is also your chance to discuss your medical history, including any allergies, with your doctor and tell him or her about any medications you’re taking.
Finding the Right Doctor
There are several specialists who can perform lip augmentation, including cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists. When it comes to your outcomes, the most important thing is to find a trustworthy doctor who is qualified and experienced in giving injections. Remember, you are making a change to your appearance, and you don’t want to end up with unnatural-looking results, like these lip augmentation nightmares. **
Lip augmentation poses real risks, especially if the person giving the injection is unqualified or inexperienced. That’s why you should always ask your chosen injector about his or her level of training and education. Is the doctor board-certified? What professional memberships and affiliations does he or she maintain? Also, ask to see before-and-after photos of other lip augmentation patients. If you’re not pleased with the outcome of your consultation, it’s OK to seek another opinion from a Board Certified plastic surgeon.
Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Kulick has provided mouth and lip augmentation at his San Francisco practice for more than 20 years. If you’d like to reshape the look of your lips, book a consultation with him today.
* Source: National Institutes of Health, July 2012
** Source: ranker.com