Fuller lips have long been thought to be attractive and appealing in women, and to some extent, men as well. Reliable lip augmentation first became available and found to be safe in the 1980s with the development of collagen injectable fillers. Other fillers have been developed since that time that generally have more favorable profiles regarding longevity, safety and overall effectiveness. However, injectable fillers are, for the most part, temporary, often requiring repeat lip injections every 6-18 months in order to maintain the effect. The desire for permanent, natural-appearing fuller appearing lips can be accomplished via surgical lip augmentation.
Generally speaking, lip augmentation accomplishes fuller appearance to the lips and increases the vertical height of the red portion of the lip itself. This is accomplished by tunneling either a patient’s own tissue or an implant beneath the surface of the lip. Implants may be solid (e.g., Gore-Tex™, etc.) or an injectable gel (see injectable fillers).
Many different synthetic implants have been used for lip augmentation in the past. Problems with migration or extrusion of the implant, infection or other reaction to the implant make the choice of a synthetic implant less attractive then using a patient’s own tissue.
The choice of donor site for a patient’s own tissue to graft to the lips depends in many factors such as amount of augmentation desired, other procedures being performed at the same time, and patient desire. The procedure is performed under sedation or general anesthesia, depending upon the patient and surgeon’s preference.
Other surgical options have been described and are still performed by some surgeons. These include making an incision either at the junction of the red and white lip, near the “scroll area” of raised tissue found naturally or at the base of the nose and nostrils. Tissue is excised to lift the lip itself in a vertical manner. This does not address increasing the fullness of the lip directly. In addition, unsightly scarring can be formed with either incision design and loss of the “scroll area” leads to an unnatural appearance.
Click here to view our photos of some of our patients “before and after” photos.