Many women want a fuller, plumper lip, while reducing fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. There are several methods used to augment lips - lips may be injected with collagen or through fat grafting. Liquid collagen and fat can be absorbed and repeated treatments may be necessary to maintain results over the long term. There are newer, more longer-lasting options that utilize implantable materials such as AlloDerm and SoftForm.
With the implantation process, a natural or synthetic biocompatible material is placed into the patient's lips. In using fat grafting, the fat is harvested from another site on the patient's body, readied and then injected into the lips. With injections, it is usually sufficient to undergo one injection to see the desired result. These results are temporary, however, and may need to be repeated periodically. The success lies in how the injection is administered, and proper placement. When using biocompatible materials, such as AlloDerm, a natural collagen sheet made from donated skin, it will need to be inserted through tiny incisions inside the corners of the mouth. When the implant is in place, it eventually becomes one with the natural tissues in the lip area.
Other options for lip augmentation include:
Restylane - crystal-clear injectable gel; the hyaluronic acid in Restylane is very close to that naturally found in the body.
Another augmentation choice is laser lip rejuvenation, which tightens the natural collagen and elastic tissue beneath the lips.
The patient may return to normal activities almost immediately. For patients who undergo a full fledged surgical procedure, within a week, you may return to normal activities.
Patients must be aware of the various reactions one can have- each material used is slightly different and must be allotted for. AlloDerm and Dermalogen do not require patients to provide donor tissue and will not be rejected by the body, because they are human tissue. Gore-Tex implants are permanent in the body, easily insertable and well tolerated. Temporary procedures like collagen or fat injection are the answer for patients who would like to experiment, but not necessarily commit to an implant.
It is important to undergo any skin tests to see if your body will readily accept the procedure or the materials used in it. Allergic reactions may range from prolonged redness, swelling or itching, to firmness at the injection site. There are other possible complications that include bleeding, asymmetry, and migration of the implant. Normal swelling and bruising lasts from three days to a week.
Collagen injections have a short-lived life span (9-12 weeks). Fat injections can provide longer-lasting results, but are sometimes unpredictable as to the degree of change and can have lumping or scarring effects, and must be harvested from another part of the body.
Soft-form is a foreign body and may become infected or be rejected. While many techniques exist for lip augmentation, none are ideal.
It is important to speak with your surgeon about the methods and treatments that are right for you. Since lip augmentation is not a science, it is important to go to a surgeon who has extensive experience in the area. Discuss openly with your doctor as to what your expectations and hopes for the procedure are- knowledge and education will guide you through the process.