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Over the course of time, a patient’s lips can become thinner and less pronounced. With injectable fillers and surgical lip augmentation, patients can enhance the size of their lips. But injectable fillers can be dangerous as will be discussed below.

Injectable fillers or surgical lip augmentation?

Many people are also born with thin lips; injectable fillers can help to solve this genetic failing, albeit temporarily.  Simple and quick, lip augmentation is a procedure which can be completed in minutes, but last for months. But lip injections have a rare but serious risk.

Surgical Lip Augmentation

For those who want to have permanent lip augmentation, there are lip implants readily available.  These implants may be made from carefully screened cadaver skin or they might be made out of synthetic materials.  Placed inside of the lips, these implants will increase the bulk of the lips And they are available in a variety of sizes and can be fitted to any mouth.  Patients should keep in mind, however, that synthetic implants can feel different — often firmer than a normal lip.

I have devised a procedure that I have used for years that uses skin from the buttock fold, which after shaving off the outer layer or epidermis, is then implanted into the lip. The advantages of the procedure are

  • a natural look
  • a natural feel
  • they cannot be rejected, as is the implant is the body’s own tissue.

Different Kinds of Lip Injectables

Some patients like a more natural feeling to their lip augmentation and many want to consider lip injectables.  These fillers are simply injected into the lips where they will stay until the body begins to reabsorb the materials.  However, most of these products, including fat injections do not last very long. Various lip injectables include:

  • Collagen
  • Fat
  • Hylaform
  • Other synthetic materials

These injections are placed directly into the lip area where they will fill in lines and plump up the lips in targeted areas.  In order to inject these fillers, the surgeon will simply use a fine tip needle and position the needle in the proper area.  After carefully considering the amount of filler the patient needs, the surgeon will inject only as much filler as needed.  These injections can be repeated over time if the patient wants a fuller appearance to the lips.

What to Expect from Lip Augmentation

Most people report that lip augmentation and lip injectables are painless.  The injectables typically include an anesthetic in the mix, preventing pain before and after the injection.  If the filler does not include anesthetic, then the surgeon might apply a topical anesthetic to the skin beforehand.  The procedure takes no more than a few minutes to perform and a patient can go right back to work afterwards.  A patient does not have to restrict their activities and will generally not need any pain medication or aftercare.  Patients can expect to see swelling at the site of the lips for several days, but this will reduce rapidly and the fuller lips will be apparent over time.  While lip fillers will not last forever, patients will see results for anywhere from three to nine months, depending on the filler and their body’s reaction to the filler.

Risks of Injectables

With anything that might be injected into the body, a patient can experience some side effects and face additional risks which should be considered before going to a surgeon.

Some of the potential risks of lip augmentation and fillers include:

  • Infection
  • Excessive injection of material
  • Lip deformity, especially with fat injections
  • Pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blindness

Blindness can be caused by the inadvertent injection of material into the major artery of the lip that can then act as an embolus. To my knowledge, no filler material has ever been approved by the FDA for injection into the lips.

Since some patients may be allergic to lip fillers and may not realize it, there is a slight risk of death as a result of these simple procedures.  Most lip injection and implants are pain-and event-free, but any cosmetic surgery patient needs to know there are risks.

Currently, lip augmentation and fillers can cost anywhere from $300 to $5,000 a session, depending on the amount of filler used and the type of implants used.  Patients will want to keep in mind, once again, that fillers are not a permanent fix, so follow-up treatments will be necessary to keep up the look.  Health insurance will not cover the costs of lip augmentation in most cases, so patients will need to pay for these costs out of pocket.  Financing programs and payment plans are readily available through most plastic surgeons.

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