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Lip Augmentation

Beautiful lips are a feature that many people aspire to. Some people are born with naturally full and well-contoured lips while others are not, and in many instances lip volume is lost as we age. The good news is that it is not impossible to get the look you are going for, with the range of safe and effective lip augmentation options available with the help of an experienced cosmetic surgeon. There are a lot of choices based on what your goals are, which can seem overwhelming, but can also allow you to tailor the perfect treatment. Here are the different types of lip augmentation treatments currently available:

Injectable Fillers: The most popular and straightforward treatment for lip augmentation, injectables are soft tissue fillers that add instant volume and contour to the lips on a temporary basis. Fillers look and feel natural and have no downtime or long-term commitment involved, making them great for special occasions or trying out a new look. The procedure involves only a brief injection session, with little pain or discomfort. In addition to volume, fillers can be used to precisely shape the lips for a sensual and youthful appearance. Fillers last three to four months on average, but can last six months or more in some cases. Common fillers include hyaluronic acid formulas like Restylane® and Juvederm®. The downside of fillers is that they must be repeated to preserve results.

Fat Transfer: This procedure uses the patient's own fat to augment the lips. Taking the fat from an area of the body such as the hips, stomach, or thighs, the cells are then purified and injected into the lips. Fat transfer is a less common procedure for the lips because it requires a separate procedure for harvesting the fat, but it does provide very natural augmentation. One of the main caveats of this procedure is that the body will absorb some of the fat cells during the first six months following the procedure, which can be somewhat unpredictable. Volume that remains after that time, however, is permanent.

Implants: Lip implants can be a permanent solution for lip augmentation, but are used much less commonly. They are available to patients who have decided they would like to maintain augmentation results long term. Most patients who choose implants have tried temporary fillers and are tired of undergoing injections every few months. During the procedure, a soft, flexible implant made of AlloDerm® or Gore-Tex® is surgically placed. The implant is permanent, but may be removed if necessary.

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Lip Augmentation Consultation

Lip augmentation is a highly customizable procedure, so you will need to get started by discussing your goals with a cosmetic surgeon. Our experts at Emory Aesthetic Center in Atlanta are skilled in different methods of lip augmentation and will be able to help you choose the option that's right for you. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to get to know our team, and ask any questions you may have about the lip augmentation procedures. During your consultation, our surgeons will also ensure you are a good candidate for these procedures.

Lip Augmentation Candidates

For augmentation with injectables, there are very few requirements. Patients must only have realistic expectations and be in generally good health. Surgical procedures have stricter candidacy requirements to help ensure patient safety. During your consultation, our surgeons will go over your medical history and discuss any candidacy concerns prior to scheduling the procedure.

Lip Augmentation Procedure

The procedure for lip augmentation depends on the treatment type. The two most popular options are performed as follows:

Injectable Fillers

Lip augmentation with injectable fillers is a very simple procedure. Most patients do not even need topical anesthesia for the procedure, but it is available, if necessary. During the procedure, which usually takes around 30 minutes to complete, the surgeon will carefully inject an appropriate amount of filler into the lips strategically to maximize volume and ensure a shapely and even contour. Once this is complete, patients can go straight back to normal activities. 

Lip Implant

Surgical lip augmentation to place an implant can be performed under local anesthesia, with or without sedation. Incisions are made in the top and/or bottom lips to allow for placement of the implants, which are small and thread or tube-like. Once the implants are in place, the incisions are closed.

Lip Augmentation Recovery

Recovery from injectable fillers is very minimal. Patients can resume normal activities immediately, with no activity restrictions. Some bruising and swelling is common, but should subside in the days following the treatment. Most people experience little discomfort following the procedure.

Surgical lip augmentation does require more downtime, and usually involves only two to three days of initial recovery before normal activity can be resumed. Swelling and discomfort are to be expected during the recovery period, but these can be controlled with medication.

Video FAQs:

Lip Augmentation FAQs

Which lip augmentation option is right for me?

Each patient has different goals, so it is impossible to get a customized recommendation for your lip augmentation without speaking to an expert. During your consultation, you will discuss all the available options and receive guidance on which procedure is likely to be best for you.

Are there risks to lip augmentation?

Though every procedure has its risks, lip augmentation is generally very safe. Fillers have few serious risks, although some swelling, bruising, and tenderness are common during the first few days. Rare complications include asymmetry, severe or prolonged bruising, tissue ischemia, and infection.

Lip augmentation with implants is associated with surgical risks such as bleeding and infection, but these too, are rare. Occasionally, the implant will become displaced or encapsulated and may need to be removed.

Talk to your surgeon about any concerns you may have, and be sure to ask about how to minimize your risks.

Is it possible to be allergic to fillers?

Fillers used in lip augmentation are typically made of hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally in the body, so reactions to these products are extremely rare. Some people are allergic to lidocaine, which is an anesthetic substance found in some fillers, so be sure to let your surgeon know if you are sensitive to lidocaine.

How old do you have to be to get lip fillers?

Generally, patients should be over the age of 18 to receive lip injections. With parental consent, younger teens can sometimes undergo the procedure, but fillers are intended as a treatment for adult patients.

Can lip augmentation be combined with other treatments?

Yes. Many patients combine lip augmentation with facial treatments or surgical procedures for comprehensive facial enhancement.

Will lip augmentation be painful?

The amount of discomfort patients experience depends on individual pain tolerance. Patients who are worried about pain during the procedure can discuss topical anesthesia with a cosmetic surgeon, but most patients tolerate the procedure with no numbing. Ice is usually applied prior to injection, which further helps to maintain comfort.

Will my lips feel natural after lip augmentation? What is the "kiss test"?

Lip fillers look and feel extremely natural after treatment. The "kiss test" refers to the feel of the lips when kissing someone—if that person can tell the lips have been treated, and then the treatment does not pass the test. Fillers should not look or feel any different than natural lips.

How often will I have to have my lips re-treated?

To maintain optimal results, injectable treatments should be administered every three to six months. Implants are permanent.

Is lip augmentation reversible?

Implants may be removed in case they shift, develop infection, or are no longer wanted. Fillers are temporary, and should not need to be reversed, though some injections to exist to dissolve hyaluronic acid fillers.




Emory Aesthetic Center of Buckhead-Atlanta