What is lip enhancement?
Lip enhancement is a procedure that improves and refills the lips either to recreate the fullness of your lips when you were younger, or to improve the balance between the upper and lower lips or to augment the central part of your lip.
Lip enhancement in the past has been performed with collagen, but more recently advances in filling technology have allowed the use of hyaluronic acid. This is a natural product.
The lips are one of the main features of your face and form a focal point that indicates to others as to how happy or healthy you are. As we age, the lips tend to become thinner and there is a loss of volume in the lips so that they may also be accompanied by fine vertical lines, particularly across the upper lip and the corners of the mouth may drop and droop downward.
Lip enhancement is a technique in which a filler is strategically and carefully injected into the body of the lip to refill the lip and to rebalance the lip so that it looks very similar to the way your lips looked when you were younger, or it can be used to rebalance the upper and lower lips so that they are more symmetrical and more aesthetically balanced.
Lip enhancement involves the careful and skilful injection of a dermal filler into the lip. In the past this was only possible with collagen which had a number of side-effects, and in particular was associated with excessive swelling and redness after the procedure. The newer techniques use hyaluronic acid which is a natural sugar which works to attract the body’s natural water into the lips. Because it is very similar to natural sugars in the body, there is minimal swelling and redness. Additionally, the newer fillers also contain local anaesthetic in the injecting medium so that this usually is extremely well tolerated with virtually no pain.
How is lip enhancement performed?
Lip enhancement is performed with the same injection techniques and products as wrinkle treatment with dermal fillers. The hyaluronic acid that we use to treat wrinkles is exactly the same as that used in lips, but the lip filler is much thinner and is much more fluid so that it is able to blend in with the lip and lip movement much more effectively.
Lip enhancement can be specifically designed to enhance the cupid’s bow, that is, the curve of your lip just underneath your nose in the central part of your upper lip. It can be used to make the vermilion border or the junction between the red and the white part of your lip stronger so that it can be used to minimise the amount of bleeding of lipstick from your lip into the surrounding skin. It can make your lips look fuller or more pouty and it can be strategically used to soften the vertical upper lip lines.
What are the benefits of lip enhancement?
Lip enhancement gives you a more defined smile and can be used to prevent lipstick bleeding into the surrounding skin. It can enhance or produce a lip pout and may correct the downwards effects of aging on the corner of the mouth.
What are the risks?
We use low risk biocompatible natural sugars as part of our dermal fillers. Whilst these are extremely safe and even though lip enhancement is performed by a fully trained plastic surgical nurse/ nurse injector or by Professor Ashton himself, there are some minor side-effects of which you need to be aware.
Redness, itching and some swelling at the injection site of the lips is not uncommon and usually persists for an hour or two after surgery. In rare situations the swelling can be more pronounced and may persist for up to 24 hours. We would therefore recommend that after having the procedure done, you plan a quiet night at home.
Bruising is uncommon but can occur following this procedure. If there is some bruising, it is normally most prominent at day four after the procedure but is usually gone by day ten.
The most common side-effect we see is when lip enhancement is performed by an improperly trained or non-skilled technician and there is an uneven or asymmetrical result or an over-done look in which there is disproportion between the upper and lower lips or the material is injected too superficially so that palpable lumps are felt within the lips. If lip enhancement is performed by an untrained physician, or practitioner who is unaware of the arterial anatomy of the upper lip, it is possible to inject the filler directly into one of the arteries of the upper or lower lip and this can lead to serious complications in the blood supply of the surrounding nose, lip or chin.
How many lip enhancement treatments will I need?
We find that the dermal fillers used in lip enhancement last between 12 and 14 months and hence most patients would need to have their lip enhancement topped up every year. It is important to remember, however, that not all of the lip filler is absorbed at a year’s time and hence it is important that a smaller amount of lip filler is utilised when your subsequent treatments are performed, otherwise a creeping effect of progressively increased amounts of filler will lead to an over-done and non-aesthetic look.
Is it painful?
Whilst there are many nerve endings in the lip, the products contain local anaesthetic which means that the procedure is particularly well tolerated. If you are worried or concerned about pain, we apply a topical anaesthetic cream that numbs the lips while the procedure is being performed.
What should I expect after treatment?
The lips initially will be slightly swollen and will be red as a reaction to the injection. You will not see the shape of your lips immediately and it will take about a week for your lips to settle into their new shape. Importantly, you may have more swelling in the first 24 hours after the injection.
It is important you realise this is not the long term or final result of your lip enhancement. It is important that you take things gently and quietly in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and that you avoid heavy physical exercise or warm environments which increase the amount of blood flow to the head and neck area and hence increase the risk of bruising and swelling.
What about if I do not like my lip enhancement and I think that the results do not suit my face?
The most important thing to realise about the newer lip fillers is that they are completely reversible. If in the unlikely event you feel that the procedure is not for you or that you think that the result is over-done, the product can be completely dissolved in a relatively straight forward and simple way here in our rooms.
What can I do to optimise my lip enhancement and get the best result?
Everyone has a different image of their ideal lip. Some people prefer quite a full upper lip, others are seeking a more natural look. Often we find that photographs are a very good way for you to crystallise and communicate your ideal lip so that we can give you the result you are seeking.
We would therefore recommend that ahead of your consultation, if you find photographs which closely resemble the look that you are seeking, that you take a photograph of these images or bring the actual image along so that we can discuss the result you are seeking and whether it is possible. It is also important that you allow time for you to recover and recuperate.
Squeezing lip enhancement into a busy and hectic schedule is less than ideal and we find patients get the best result when they allow time to rest and recover after this relatively straight forward and predicable procedure.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.