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Lip Augmentation and Enhancement
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, we never simply “plump up” lips. Our plastic surgeons are experts at adding fullness or smoothing out fine lines around the mouth while accomplishing natural-looking results.
A variety of techniques and augmentative fillers are available for lip augmentation, such as fat injections and grafting, hyaluronic acids, and AlloDerm.
A Variety of Options for Lip Augmentation
Our plastic surgeons are focused on performing lip augmentation and enhancement that are in harmony with a person’s facial features.
Understanding what will work best for a person’s face is among the first steps in considering lip augmentation. During our clinical evaluation, a surgeon will discuss the most effective approach to lip augmentation for each patient. It’s safe to have lip augmentation in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation procedures such as a face-lift or laser resurfacing.
Our surgeons have completed extensive training in plastic surgery, studying for an additional six to nine years after completing their medical school education. Our board-certified surgeons have passed rigorous written and oral exams to receive board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Types of Lip Augmentation
Options for lip augmentation include:
- Direct lip-lift: This procedure removes skin from the upper lip, just above the red part of the lip. The procedure increases the visible height of the red lip and decreases the distance from the upper red lip to the nose. This technique will result in more of the front teeth showing, which can be more aesthetically pleasing. Results are permanent, but there is swelling for one to two weeks, and full recovery takes several months.
- Indirect lip-lift: This procedure achieves a similar result as the direct lip-lift but hides the incisions at the base of the nose to create less visible scars. The procedure will enhance the lip “pout” and roll the red lip outward, giving it a more natural, plump look. Just like the direct lip-lift, this technique will result in more of the front teeth showing. This technique is offered to patients who have thin upper lips, a long lip-to- nose distance with inadequate front teeth show, and a well-defined lip line. Results are permanent, but the recovery period takes a few months.
- Lip corner lift: For patients whose lips droop at the corners, the lip corner lift can provide a solution. A small triangular excision of the skin around the corner of the upper lips can result in an aesthetically pleasing elevation of the lateral corners of the lip. The results will involve visible scars. In general, surgical results are permanent; however, surgery does not stop the aging process, and aging-related changes in the lips will occur over time.
Injections and Fillers
- Tissue grafting: Some lip augmentation techniques use a patient’s own tissues. In this procedure, a thin strip of fat and collagen tissue is removed from the patient’s body – often in the process of performing a face-lift. The tissue is then inserted into the lips for enhancement for a more permanent result. The recovery is faster than a surgical lip-lift, but there is still swelling for several weeks.
- Fat injections: A small amount of fat is removed from the patient’s own abdomen or buttocks, and the fat cells are separated with a specialized centrifuge. The fat cells are then carefully injected into the lips. The procedure takes 30 minutes to an hour. Not all of the fat cells will survive, but about 60 to 75 percent of the injected fat will stay permanently.
- Soft tissue fillers: Fillers, such as Restylane, Juvéderm, Volbella, and Belotero, can provide lip volume and smooth wrinkles at the same time. We carefully inject tiny quantities of filler into the lips, restoring lip fullness and visibility of the red lip to create a natural look. These fillers last for six months to a year, depending on the specific product used.