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      Lip Augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can give you fuller, plumper lips. These days, an injectable dermal filler is the most commonly used method of lip augmentation.

      There are many types of dermal fillers that can be injected in your lips and around your mouth. But the most common fillers today are products that contain substances similar to hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body. It helps increase volume in your lips.

      These types of dermal fillers are sometimes called "hyaluronic acid fillers."

      Collagen, once the most common dermal filler, is used less often today. The newer options are safer and the effects last longer. Fat injections and implants are other methods to plump lips. But they aren't used as much today because the results vary and there is a greater risk of side effects.

      Uses of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers. Hyaluronic acid fillers can improve the appearance of your lips by adding:

      • Shape
      • Structure
      • Volume

      The effects typically last around six months. After that more injections are needed to keep the volume of your lips.

      Who Are the Best Candidates for Lip Augmentation?

      You must be in good general health overall. You are not a good candidate for lip augmentation if you have:

        • Current cold sores
        • Certain diseases such as diabetes or lupus
        • Any scarring of the lips
      • Blood clotting problems

      Like any other cosmetic surgery, lip augmentation requires a lot of responsibility. You can only determine for yourself if you're ready. We've included the most popular injections and implants here. This information should serve as a general overview only and should not replace your doctor's advice. Once you've selected a doctor, you will communicate with him or her and decide together which option best suits your needs.

      As with any medical procedure, you should tell your doctor of any allergies or any medications that you are taking and you will be required to discuss your medical history. Certain diseases such as diabetes can increase your chances of complications. If you are a smoker, this may also be a complicating factor.

      Injections for Lip Augmentation

      Your surgeon will most likely use topical anesthesia (painkiller applied directly to the lips) for injections. These are performed on an outpatient basis in your doctor's office or an outpatient center and you will be sent home the same day.

      Here are the options:

        • Artecoll is a synthetic material that plumps up the lips. Because it's synthetic, you are at higher risk of having an allergic reaction to it than if you got an injection of collagen or fat, but it lasts longer than either.
        • Autologen is an injection of your own collagen, extracted from another place on your body. There's no risk of allergic reaction, however, the results are only temporary. This may be good for people who aren't ready to commit to a permanent result.
        • Collagen can be extracted from cows and injected into the lips. There's a risk of allergic reaction, so it's best to have your surgeon give you a test dose before proceeding to the full dose. The results are temporary lasting four weeks to three months.
        • Dermalogen is collagen extracted from deceased human donors. This is also a temporary fix, but your body should not reject it.
        • Fascia injections use a specific type of connective tissue harvested either from your own body or from a deceased human donor. It can be implanted surgically or injected. The main drawback is that within a year of injection, your body will reabsorb the fascia.
        • Fat from your own thighs or abdomen can be injected into your lips. There's no risk of allergic reaction and you may achieve permanent results. This can also be implanted surgically (see below). If you gain weight, your lips may enlarge since the fat cells will get bigger.
        • Hylaform is a material created from a natural body substances known as hyaluronic acid. There's no risk of infection, but you will need repeated treatments to maintain the result as it's only a temporary fix.
      • Restylane is a clear gel. It contains hyaluronic acid. It's biodegradable, so your body will absorb it within about six months of the injection.

      Lip Implants and Surgeries

      You will most likely receive local anesthesia if you get a lip implant or have lip augmentation surgery. A procedure can take up to two hours at your doctor's office or outpatient center, depending on the complexity, and you will be sent home the same day.

      Here are the options:

        • Alloderm is a sheet of collagen created from deceased humans. Your surgeon inserts them through tiny incisions made on the inside part of the lip. This material offers only a temporary fix, lasting up to 12 months.
        • Fat grafting is the surgical method of inserting your own fat into your lips to achieve the desired fullness. You may achieve permanent results, but this method varies from person to person. Because it's your own fat, there is a chance that your body can reabsorb it.
        • Goretex, SoftForm, and soft ePTFE are synthetic materials that can achieve a permanent result. Unlike some of the other options we've listed above, your body will not absorb these. However, because they are synthetic, there is a risk of allergic reaction.
      • Local flap grafts is a surgical procedure that takes tissue and skin from the inside flap of your mouth. It's far more invasive than any other technique, and is often the last resort among plastic surgeons.

      Your surgeon may also be able to make an incision along the upper line of your lip.


      How Long Will Recovery Take After Lip Augmentation?

      It's important that you have someone with you who can drive you home after a lip augmentation procedure.

      If you are having surgical implants or grafts, your recovery can take up to two weeks after the surgery.

      It's important that you know yourself. Discuss how much time you think you'll need for recovery with your doctor. It may be necessary to take some time off work. You will need at least three days off from work, at a minimum. If you are physically active, you will not be able to exercise for a few days after injections and perhaps for a few weeks after surgical implants.

      How to Prepare for Lip Augmentation:

      It's important that you have someone with you who can drive you home from the operation.

      If you are a smoker, you may be required to stop smoking for a period before the procedure. You should follow your doctor's instructions carefully on this.

      Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing. Be especially mindful of the shirt or blouse you choose to wear that day. It should be button down, if possible, so you do not have to pull it over your face.

      You should not take aspirin or painkillers like ibuprofen or Motrin before having the procedure.

      Before Your Procedure, Establish a Home Recovery Area With the Following:

        • Ice
        • Comfortable pillows on which you can prop yourself
        • Ointment or cream as recommended by your doctor
        • Plenty of soft foods, such as jello, pudding, oatmeal and yogurt that do not require chewing
      • Telephone within reaching distance of your recovery area


      What Are the Risks and Complications of Lip Augmentation?

      As with any surgery, there are risks and complications. You can have allergic reactions to implants as we've described above or an allergic reaction to anesthesia.

      You can experience bleeding or an implant that hardens, which may require removal. You also risk infection or perhaps even nerve damage in some cases. It's very important that you discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to surgery and that you make your doctor aware of any existing medical conditions which may cause further complications.

      After Lip Augmentation, Call Your Doctor Immediately If:

      • You experience extreme swelling
      • You develop a fever


      Does Health Insurance Cover Lip Augmentation?

      Insurance may cover lip augmentation if the procedure is being completed for reconstructive purposes, such as a congenital defect or as reconstruction after an injury or accident. However, if you are undergoing this procedure purely for cosmetic purposes, you're most likely on your own to pay the bill. Make sure you understand all of your doctor's charges, including anesthesia, follow-up care and hospital fees, if applicable. Obtain an estimate of the charges beforehand and work out a payment plan if necessary.

      It's also very important that you realize elective cosmetic surgery may impact your current insurance. Your carrier can increase your premiums and it can affect future coverage. Ask your insurance carrier about its policy on elective, cosmetic surgery so you're not surprised in the future.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What is lip augmentation?

      Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that enhances the size and shape of your lips. There are basically two ways to augment the size of your lips. Injectable fillers provide a nonsurgical, usually temporary boost for your lips, while surgically-inserted lip implants offer a permanent solution. A new option — laser lip rejuvenation — can be used to enhance either surgical or nonsurgical approaches.


      What does a consultation for lip augmentation typically entail?

      During a lip augmentation consultation, the surgeon will listen as you explain your issues with your lips and your aesthetic goals for improving them. He or she will then determine if you are a good candidate for lip augmentation by taking a thorough medical history and examining your lips and mouth. The surgeon should also answer all your questions and discuss the risks and costs associated with lip augmentation.



      How is lip augmentation with implants performed?

      Lip augmentation with implants can involve local flap grafts taken from tissue, skin, muscle or fascia (connective tissue) harvested from inside the mouth, or tube-shaped synthetic implants made of Alloderm, Gortex and Softform. Lip augmentation with implants can take up to two hours to perform on an outpatient basis, usually under local or intravenous sedation anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision along the inside of the lip in the corners of the mouth, inserts the implant and closes the incision with sutures.


      What should I expect postoperatively?

      You should expect your lips to be very swollen and quite tender following your implant procedure. Numbness may last for several days, and you may have difficulty drinking or eating without spilling a bit.


      How is lip augmentation with fillers performed?

      Fillers are administered by injection by a highly-qualified physician or injector. Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm are often used for lip augmentation by injection. Their plumping properties last three to six months, making them a good way to test drive lip augmentation without investing in surgery. Fat grafting from your own body can also be used for lip augmentation.


      When will I be able to see the results?

      The results are usually visible immediately. For implants and most injectables, your lips will be quite large and swollen at first; you will begin to notice a difference in your lips as the swelling subsides during the first week after your procedure.


      What are the risks of lip augmentation?

      The risks of lip augmentation are minimal, but they do exist. With lip implants, infection and/or irritation from an improperly-sized implant can occur. Extrusion (the body rejecting the implant) is also a risk, as is migration (movement of the implant). Permanent discolorations from the bruising can occur, and hematomas are possible. Injectable filers have some risks, too. Some products carry a risk of allergic reaction. Other risks include infection, necrosis (tissue death), granuloma formation, and severe inflammation.


      Is lip augmentation reversible?

      Lip augmentation with an implant is reversible; that is to say, the implant can be removed during a subsequent surgery. Lip augmentation with most injectables is temporary, so the effects disappear on their own with time. Permanent injectables are more difficult to remove, so keep this in mind when making your decision.

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