Lip Enhancement (lip augmentation, lip enlargement) is a surgical procedure performed to enlarge the upper and/or lower lips. The procedure may be performed with lip implants or injectable fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm.
Lip enlargement with implants has the distinct advantage of providing a permanent increase in lip size. Dr. Friedman generally uses PermaLip implants or Advanta lip implants. The Advanta lip implants (made from a material similar to Gore-Tex) offer a good cosmetic result but are often quite firm. The newer PermaLip implants are made from solid silicone and are usually softer.
Dr. Friedman performs permanent lip enhancement with a combination of local anesthesia and laughing gas (usually for isolated lip procedures) or under general anesthesia (when combined with other procedures, such as nasal or facial surgery). Small incisions are located in the mucous membrane near the corners of the mouth. A narrow tunnel is made through the lip, and the implant is placed within the tunnel. The incisions are closed with a few absorbable stitches. There are no external incisions.
Pain is usually mild and well-controlled with prescription pain medication. Most patients return to light activities within 24 hours. Increased lip size is apparent immediately, but the lips will look swollen for at least several days.
Lip enlargement with injectable fillers has the advantage of being a nonsurgical procedure. Dr. Friedman usually recommends Juvederm and/or Restylane. A single syringe provides a subtle increase in lip size. Two syringes provides a more dramatic increase. The procedure is performed with a combination of local anesthesia and laughing gas. The results are temporary, lasting an average of 6 to 8 months.
When you visit our office, Dr. Friedman will discuss your particular concerns. He will discuss your options and give you a realistic expectation of what you can expect from lip enhancement. We will also show you a variety of “before and after” photos of lip enhancements performed by Dr. Friedman. If you wish to speak to other patients who have undergone lip enlargement, we will be happy to provide phone numbers.
Q & A: Lip Augmentation
Will lip enhancement make me look funny?
Many patients worry about getting “trout pout” with lip enhancement. However, Dr. Friedman makes every effort to provide natural-appearing results. The lip implants are available in a variety of sizes, and the injectables can be added incrementally. This is not a one-size-fits-all procedure: the ultimate size of your lips is your decision.
Will lip enhancement improve the vertical lines in my lips?
Any volume that is added to the lip will tend to improve lines near the vermilion border (the border between the red and white skin of the lip). In fact, Juvederm and Restylane are often injected specifically along this border to reduce lip lines.
Is lip enhancement surgery reversible?
Yes. If you change your mind or are dissatisfied with the results, the implants can be removed. The lips will return to their preoperative appearance with the possible exception of a small degree of residual enlargement.
Should I have Artefil or Radiesse injected into my lips?
No. Radiesse and Artefil injections in the lips frequently cause lumps called granulomas. Juvederm and Restylane are made from hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occuring complex sugar. Because hyaluronic acid is a normal component of soft tissues (unlike Radiesse and Artefil), they are far less likely to cause granulomas.
Which is better: lip implants or lip injections?
There is no right answer to this question. If you are sure that you want fuller lips on a permanent basis, then a lip implant is quite reasonable. However, if you just want to “try it out” or are unsure how much enlargement you would like, then Juvederm or Restylane make sense. Remember that you can always start with injectables, make sure you are happy with the results, and later switch to permanent implants.
Lip Augmentation: Instructions
One week before your procedure:
- Do not take aspirin-containing products, as these may increase your risk of bruising. Use extra-strength Tylenol for any headaches or other minor pains.
- Please notify Dr. Friedman’s staff if you become sick with a fever, significant cough, etc. If necessary, your procedure can be rescheduled to a time when you are feeling better.
- To reduce the risk of bruising, you may wish to start taking Arnica Montana a few days prior to the procedure. Arnica is available through our office or your local health food store.
- If you have a cold sore or lip blister, your procedure should be rescheduled after your lip has healed. If you have a history of oral herpes, please notify us. We will place you on oral antivirals (Zovirax) prior to the procedure.
At home after the procedure:
These instructions are valid for permanent lip enhancement with implants.
For lip enhancement with injectables, please see the injectable fillers instructions.
- Take the antibiotics, antivirals, and pain medication (as needed) prescribed by Dr. Friedman.
- Sleep with your head elevated for 2 to 3 days. Sleep on your back (not your stomach or side) for the first two weeks.
- Keep your head elevated at all times. Sleep on your back (not your stomach or side).
- Use ice packs over your lips intermittently for the first 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling.
- Keep very good oral hygiene to reduce your risk of infection.
- Do not probe the stitches (at the corners of your mouth) with your tongue. Saliva has bacteria that can enter the incisions and infect the implants.
- Moisturize the lips with Carmex or lip balm, as your lips will feel dry and tight after the surgery.
- Avoid salty and spicy foods. Avoid opening your mouth further than necessary for about 2 weeks (i.e. no Big Macs).
Please feel free to ask Dr. Friedman or his staff about any additional questions or concerns.