The desire for plump, youthful lips drives many patients into a plastic surgery clinic.  If you are looking to add volume to your lips or would like to enhance lips that have become thin or lined due to aging, lip augmentation can help. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Power has the proper skills to achieve natural enhancement for beautiful results.

What is Lip Augmentation?

Lip augmentation may be performed to augment one’s natural lip proportions or to restore volume loss which occurs over time. Newer hyaluronic acid injectable fillers provide a non-surgical technique for lip augmentation, while fat injection can be used for longer-lasting results.

These procedures can achieve the following:

  • Smooth vertical lip lines.
  • Add volume to thin or aging lips.
  • Refine the shape of flat or thin lips.
  • Improve upper and lower lip symmetry and balance.

"The biggest hurdle for a lot of women is coming in for the consultation. Many do not want to appear vain or they feel guilty about finally spending money on themselves."


How is Lip Augmentation Performed?

Injectable Fillers

Filler injection is performed as an office-based minor procedure with little downtime. Prior to the procedure, a topical numbing cream or cold compress can be applied to ensure a comfortable treatment. Then, Dr. Power will carefully inject the filler into the treatment area to the desired outcome.

In addition to augmenting the vermilion (red lip), hyaluronic acid fillers may also be injected to correct wrinkles around the mouth region. These so-called “smokers’ lines” are vertical wrinkles around the lips, which often become prominent over time. Several factors relate to the development of these lines, including facial aging resulting in decreased skin elasticity, smoking, sun exposure, and genetics. Hyaluronic acid fillers with low viscosity (for example, Juvederm Volbella®) may be injected superficially to plump up and soften these lines. Correction may last up to one year. Filler injection of perioral wrinkles may be performed alone or in combination with lip augmentation or other plastic surgery procedures. It is common for the vermilion (red lip) to lose volume during the aging process as well. Results may last up to 12 months.

Fat Injection

Fat injection is a surgical option for lip augmentation, which may lead to more long-lasting results. Fat injection for lip augmentation is performed in the operating room and may be combined with other operative procedures, which determines the type of anesthetic — local vs. general.  During this procedure, fat is harvested from your own body stores, carefully prepared, and precisely injected within the lips.

Lip Augmentation Recovery

Following lip augmentation, you may experience mild bruising and swelling, which generally resolves within a few days. There is minimal to no downtime required, so patients are able to return to work the day following lip augmentation. Dr. Power recommends for patients to refrain from exercise for approximately one week following hyaluronic acid filler injections and 3-4 weeks following fat injections. These precautions may lower the risk of further bruising and swelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Complications of Lip Augmentation Using Hyaluronic Acid Filler?

Local complications may occur following lip augmentation. Most are temporary and may occur shortly after injection, including bleeding, bruising, swelling, and pain on injection. More serious risks of infection and vascular compromise will also be discussed as part of the informed consent process. Following injection, it is recommended to apply cold compresses intermittently for the first 24 hours to reduce swelling and bruising. A hematoma, although uncommon, may occur following lip augmentation. This refers to a localized collection of blood or ongoing bleeding within the lip tissues, which may result following injury to blood vessels. If localized swelling and severe bruising develop following lip augmentation, please apply firm pressure, continue to perform cold compresses, and contact your plastic surgeon urgently. nAesthetic risks may include over-correction, under-correction, nodularity, and dissatisfaction with aesthetic outcome. You may return for follow up 1-2 weeks post-injection to assess results once swelling has resolved to determine if further augmentation is desired. Other complications may relate to reaction to the filler itself (called a granuloma), which may require injection with a reversing agent (hyaluronidase). If there is personal history of cold sores on the lips, a prescription for antiviral therapy will be given prior to injection to take two days pre- and five days post-injection to reduce the risk of developing a cold sore.

What are Other Complications of Lip Augmentation Specific to Fat Injection?

Since lip augmentation using fat requires a new blood supply to be established, resorption (or incomplete fat graft take) is another risk to consider. Slight overcorrection is generally performed at the time of fat injection to allow for partial resorption over time. Areas of fat necrosis may occur where the fat does not achieve an adequate blood supply, which may result in regions of nodularity. These may improve following massage and scar maturation; however minor surgical revision may be required if concerns persist.

How long does lip augmentation last?

Lip augmentation results will vary depending on the method utilized for your procedure. Most hyaluronic acid fillers will last up to twelve months. Fat injections may be more long-lasting.

What is the difference between lip augmentation and lip fillers?

The phrase lip fillers typically refers to injections using hyaluronic acid fillers. Lip augmentation may refer to injectable fillers as well as fat injection or surgical options such as implants.

What is the best lip augmentation procedure?

The best lip augmentation procedure will vary for each patient. At Power Plastic Surgery, patients may choose from either injectable dermal fillers or fat injections. Dr. Power will consider your goal results and make recommendations during a consultation.

Is lip augmentation painful?

Lip augmentation using fat injections or hyaluronic acid fillers is generally not painful. Local anesthesia may be used while injecting fat, and most hyaluronic acid filler products contain lidocaine, making injections more comfortable. Topical numbing cream may also be applied prior to the procedure to reduce discomfort.

What happens when you stop getting lip fillers?

Hyaluronic acid fillers naturally, safely, and gradually break down over time. This means that your lips will gradually return to their natural appearance if you choose to stop injections. Should complications arise, hyaluronic acid fillers may be dissolved by injecting hyaluronidase .

How often does one need to get lip injections?

In most cases, patients will need to repeat their lip injections annually to maintain results.

Are lip injections safe?

There are risks associated with all cosmetic procedures, which will be discussed in depth before treatment. Safety may be enhanced by seeking treatment from a qualified, experienced plastic surgeon or injector.

Where should I get lip injections?

Plastic surgeons are well-trained in the delicate and intricate facial anatomy. For this reason, some patients may prefer seeing a plastic surgeon for lip injections.

Can I get lip filler in one lip?

It is possible to have filler injections in only one lip, for example, your upper or lower lip. Differential amounts may be injected on each side as well if you have concerns about asymmetry.

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