Lip augmentation is a procedure that is undergone to increase the fullness of lips, and can be accomplished through surgical or non-surgical procedures. In the Western world, among the Caucasian population, the full mouth has been associated with beauty most notably from the time Dior chose Kelly LeBrock to be the face of the design house. While women who thinner lips are still beautiful, the trend of having fuller lips has attracted women of all ages and races toward the fuller mouth. Moreover, it has become a practice to erase visible fine lines and wrinkles that form around them, especially in those with thinner lips and especially, with aging.
Lip augmentation began in the early 1900s, where paraffin was injected into the lips, followed by silicone. The former was unsuccessful, where the latter left fears with regards to the silicone in relation to health. In the 1980s bovine collagen, in injectable form was introduced. Although found to provide desired results, they were extremely short-lived, and prior to the filler being injected, an allergy test had to be performed. Today, there are different fillers, like Restylane and Juvederm that are used in non-surgical lip augmentation procedures in many parts of the world.
From the 1990s on, lip augmentation went on to include numerous other substances to reshape thinning lips.
- Collagen: made from bovine hides, requires an allergy test. Results last between 1 and 3 months, as it too gets absorbed by the body.
- Dermalogen: made from the patient’s skin, creating a highly concentrated injectable collagen, rendering results that are longer than bovine collagen.
- Augtolegen: a dermal filler, made from the patient’s own skin, so there is no allergy, but the material is quickly absorbed by the body, leaving very temporary results.
- Alloderm: made by tissue extracted from cadavers, which is purified for safety. This is then placed into the lips in small rolls to give the desired effects. Alloderm can also be placed into the pink part of the lips, thereby rendering more definition.
- Radiance: This is synthetic and has been used in various medical procedures for years. The results are said to last no less than 3 years and up to 5.
- Gore-Tex implants: also known as EPTFE, Advanta, SoftForm, and UltraSoft. These come in strips and tubes and are surgically implanted by surgeons.
Currently, there have been new techniques developed for a more effective result. For most procedures, topical anesthesia is used in lip augmentation.
Restylane: This substance is a clear gel and is injected into the lips, lasting about 6 months or longer. Juvederm is similar.
Fat Transfer: Usually, but not always, fat is extracted through liposuction from a part of the patient’s body, and then injected into the lips, or can be surgically implanted.
Are There Risks or Side Effects?
The majority of patients who have undergone a lip augmentation attest to satisfaction and a repeated treatment. However, it has been found that fat grafting is best to maintain a fuller appearance and softer lip for a semi-permanent result.
The biggest problem with surgical or non-surgical lip augmentation is over-filling. The results can look unattractive and almost comical, being called a trout pout. Moreover, there can be lumpiness in the lips if there have been overaggressive injections to the area.
Side-effects include swelling, bruising, itching or redness in the area of the injections. Sometimes, there has been bleeding, as well. Another problem is uneven lips. There have also been reported problems of implants moving or breaking through the skin’s surface.
There are also issues with allergies to local anesthesia used, or some patients who have reacted to the skin tests. In addition to these, there are patients who should not undergo such procedures because of their skin conditions, like cold sores, scarred lips, and infections. Moreover, there are other patients who should avoid these procedures if they have lupus or diabetes, facial nerve disorders, extreme high blood pressure, or herpes simplex.
In the case of fat transfer, while it lasts longer than other procedures, there could be scarring or lumping. Plus, there is an added procedure and wound, where the fat will be extracted.
Gore-tex shows impressive results and great success but it is foreign to the body. Therefore, there is a risk of infection or rejection by the body, but the risk is relatively low.
Whichever solution is chosen, the patient is always at the hands of the surgeon or doctor. Successful lip augmentation requires a high level of skill, where the doctor has used the different procedures and substances in different patients.