Large, plump lips are a worldwide symbol for sexuality, youth, and beauty. Although lips naturally lose shape and fullness with age, it wasn’t until recently that plastic surgeons developed a way to reverse the signs of aging and bring back the sexy pout in a woman’s lips.
Whether the goal is to look younger, more desirable, or to become more self-confident, lip enhancement is a relatively quick and simple way to give patients fuller, plumper lips, and reduce fine wrinkles around the mouth without having to go through major surgery or suffer through long recovery times.
With an increasing number of women going under the knife to reclaim their youthful look, business for cosmetic surgeons specializing in lip enhancements is booming. It’s thanks to this boom that lip enhancement procedures have gone down in price and up in quality and effectiveness. In today’s market, there are dozens of different types of lip injections and procedures, ensuring each patient can choose the best technique for her own body and beauty goals.
What is lip enhancement?
It’s defined as any procedure that increases the fullness of the lips through an injection of soft tissue-such as collagen-or through the placement of a synthetic material-such as a lip implant.
Thanks to recent improvements in cosmetic surgery technology, there are now more than eight different types of injections and more than four types of lip implants for patients to choose from, the most popular of which include collagen, fat, or Restylane for injections and fat-grafting or Gore-Tex for implantation.
Because collagen and fat are absorbed by the body, patients choosing these injection options will need repeat treatments every few months to maintain results. Newer options such as Gore-Tex and SoftForm are synthetic materials that can help a patient achieve a permanent result; however they also have a higher rate of allergic reaction because they are synthetic. Another option for patients who fear they may experience an allergic reaction is lip rejuvenation, which tightens the natural collagen and tissue beneath the lips to reduce wrinkles and give a more youthful appearance.
Who are the best candidates?
Lip plumping can be sought by anyone wishing for fuller, plumper lips and less wrinkles around the mouth. The best candidates should be in excellent health and free of oral herpes, scarring, or certain diseases such as diabetes, lupus, connective tissues disorders, or blood clotting problems that may complicate the procedure.
Because individuals have their own beauty goals, a number of different lip injection formulas and implants have been developed by researchers and physicians. Patients should be open and honest with their doctors about the desired outcome, and plan on working together with their doctor to decide on which lip procedure will best meet their needs and deliver favorable results.
Good candidates for lip enhancement should have realistic expectations, and understand that injections and implants are designed to improve the look of a patient’s lips and face and not to create a radical change in overall appearance.
What are the benefits?
One of the many benefits is the noticeable results that are achieved in a short amount of time with a short recovery period. Patients can expect to return to normal activities within one or two days, depending on the specific lip enhancement procedure and materials involved. Although swelling can sometimes last as long as two weeks, overall recovery periods for lip enhancement patients are among the shortest in the plastic surgery field.
For patients who may not be ready for a permanent change, temporary lip enhancement procedures such as collagen or fat injection can be especially tempting, as they produce noticeably fuller lips for as little as four weeks or as long as six months. Once they’ve seen the positive results, many patients later chose to return to their plastic surgeon for a follow up lip enhancement procedure, or opt for a permanent implant.
What risks are involved?
Although plastic surgeons offer a variety of different lip enhancement techniques, none is perfect. Like any plastic surgery, a small percentage of lip enhancement patients may experience side effects, including prolonged redness, swelling, itching, or firmness at the injection site. While rare, some patients may also experience bleeding, lip asymmetry, or infection which may require antibiotics or implant removal.
Many plastic surgeons perform a pre-treatment collagen skin test to determine whether a patient may have a bad reaction to the lip enhancement procedure. Patients with a history of allergic reactions, or those who are allergic to lidocaine-the local anesthetic used during a lip enhancement procedure-should tell their doctor beforehand and may not be a good candidate for lip enhancement. Patients experiencing skin infections or active inflammatory conditions in the days before their lip enhancement procedure may be asked to postpone the appointment until the condition clears.