Lip augmentation is the treatment of thin or inadequate lips with lip implants or lip injections. The goal should be full, pouty lips. Lips should be dynamic, meaning they should move normally with facial animation. The natural curves and shape of the lips should be accentuated, the lips should not be “sausage shaped”.
Lip augmentation is all too frequently over-done. Several celebrity mishaps (Melanie Griffith and Sharon Stone among others) are excellent examples. The upper to lower lip ratio should be around 1:1.5. The upper lip should not be larger than the lower lip, this leads an unnatural appearance.
There are both permanent and temporary options. Dr. Yates generally prefers temporary lip augmentation. Lips change in shape with age and an excellent result can become unattractive with time. Also, a less than optimal result with permanent lip augmentation can become a life long problem.
There are a number of surgical and minimally invasive options for lip augmentation:
Soft tissue filler injections for lip augmentation
This is Dr. Yates preferred method of lip augmentation, currently Restylane and Juvederm are used most frequently. This is temporary, lasting only several months. The procedure can be repeated as necessary. There is little downtime with only minor swelling and bruising.
Restylane became FDA approved for lip enhancement October 2011.
Fat injections for lip augmentation
Fat is harvested from elsewhere and injected similar to soft tissue fillers. Some of the grafted fat does not survive requiring “over-treatment”. Several treatments are often required with significant swelling of the lips with each stage. Once the fat is established, this is a form of permanent lip augmentation.
Dermal – fat grafting
A small ellipse of skin (usually from the lower abdomen) are harvested. The fat and deep skin are placed through a tunnel in the corner of the lip. This can result in permanent improvement. In Dr. Yates opinion, this does not allow for artistic/ anatomic augmentation as the shape of the tissue grafted is without contour.
Permanent lip implants (PermaLip Implants)
This is a soft silicone contoured implant that is inserted into a tunnel created into the lips. There are a variety of lengths and sizes. They are FDA approved. Dr. Yates does not use these implants currently. Unlike many permanent types of lip augmentation, they can easily be removed.
An incision is made above the pink lip and the skin around the lip is removed pulling the colored portion of the lip upward. The scar is not desirable and is difficult to hide.