Full lips with an accentuated border around them are associated with youth and beauty. In order to achieve more beautiful lips and reverse some of the effects of aging, a number of lip augmentation procedures are offered (both surgical and non-surgical).
In addition, the lines and wrinkles around and in the lips can be improved.
Non-Surgical Lip Augmentation
Human derived dermal collagen (in the forms of Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast) is used safely in our San Francisco practice to treat wrinkles and scars and, unlike previous forms of animal derived collagen, can be given without any need for allergy testing. Periodic treatments with this material into the border of the lips is an excellent means to achieve enhancement. The results give fuller-looking lips and softened lipstick lines. The procedure is simple; with minimal swelling and with make-up, one can look presentable the same day. The lip correction by this method lasts three to five months and requires re-treatment as needed.
Restylane and Juvederm
These are hyaluronic acid dermal and deep tissue fillers that are safe and natural and provide instant and long lasting correction of wrinkles. They are commonly used to correct moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds. They are also very effective in volumizing and plumping up the lips as well as better defining the lip line. Hyaluronic acid is a completely natural substance that already exists within the human body. It has no animal proteins within it and therefore does not require any allergy testing. Like collagen, the procedure is simple; with minimal swelling and with make-up, one can look presentable the same day. The lip correction by this method lasts 4 to 6 months and requires re-treatment as needed.
Surgical Lip Augmentation
Over the years, many materials have been used to fill the lips by implanting them under the skin at the lip border or within the red part of the lip itself. Fascia, dermis, dermis-fat, muscle, and galea are all materials that can be taken from the patient as a distinct operation or along with an operation, such as a facelift. These materials can be trimmed and pulled through a tunnel under the lip skin. Resorption (the body’s way of breaking down the materials) is somewhat unpredictable and unevenness may result. However, many have been very satisfied with these treatments.
The products of liposuction can be filtered (so that the fat cells remain) and reinjected into other parts of the body. We have had tremendous success and excellent long term results with this technique; however, results can sometimes be unpredictable. Additionally, in some patients, the fat gets resorbed over time requiring further treatments. A nice benefit to this procedure is that extra fat can be stored in our facility for up to four years for repeated use.
Advanta is a synthetic tubular material of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, the same material used to make Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex has been used safely and effectively for many years in surgery to repair holes in hearts and replace clogged arteries. It is very biocompatible with the human body. Advanta is a newer, improved, and softer version of a product known as Softform. In the lips, Advanta is a permanent implant that can be placed using a special insertion device. Although soft, this material can occasionally move over time resulting in unpredictable results.
The subnasal lip lift is a procedure used to treat an elongated and flat upper lip that can occur as a result of aging. Excess skin is excised and the lip is rolled upward allowing restoration of a youthful appearance to the upper lip. As we age, the upper lip often elongates and thins out. I have reversed this situation many times over the past 28 years with the subnasal lip lift.
The Perma Facial Implant is the newest in lip augmentation technology. Made here in the United States, it is a silicone implant that maintains itself over time. Dr. Kabaker will custom taper this implant to the shape of your lip, for a natural appearance that can be achieved under local anesthesia.
I present these options to you based on many years of experience and after evaluation of newer techniques and technologies. Although not listed above, Silicone, which is permanent filler, can be also being very effective in augmenting the lips. It has received bad press in the past and is currently only used “off label” for augmentation of the lips and other areas for cosmetic purposes.
There are a number of potentially serious complications with its use and it therefore must be used with caution.
As you can see, there are many ways to augment lips, each of them having its virtues and downsides. I feel that it is important that a patient have an idea of what to expect with lip augmentation, so I strongly suggest that those considering beautification and/or rejuvenation of the lips first have a reversible treatment, such as Cosmoderm collagen or Restylane prior to any permanent corrections.