Lip Augmentation: Lip service for fuller lips

Andrew P. Trussler, MD

Article by
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

There are multiple options available for lip augmentation. They include volumetric fillers, such as hyaluronic acid gel like Juvederm and fat grafting. These products can be selectively injected into different anatomic areas in the lip to achieve different effects. The gel fillers are fine enough and smooth enough, so they can be injected under the skin to increase the upper and lower lip line, as well fill the mucosa or red part of the lip. Fat can be utilized in this area, though is not fine enough for the lip line. Other options include other autologous sources which by definition are from your own body, which include dermal fat grafts which are more solid than injectable fat, breast capsule and even tendon. Artificial implants include silicone implants which can fill the mucosa of the lip, though these can be prone to scarring and infection.

When evaluating a patient for lip augmentation, I would ask them what effect they are trying to achieve and where they would like the filler to be placed. Common complaints include “a thin upper lip” or “vertical upper lip lines”. The thin upper lip is treated with filler in both the lip line and the lip mucosa, where as lip lines can be injected directly and then balanced with a lip line fill. The bottom lip should as well be addressed to achieve a balanced and natural appearance to the perioral area.

First line products for lip augmentation are the hyaluronic acid gel fillers because they are reliable, easy to inject and reversible. There are minimal risks for infection and nodularity. Typically I first inject the lips with a local anesthetic block of the upper and lower lips which is injected inside the mouth and lasts 4 hours. The filler is injected into the desired location and usually 2 syringes of hyaluronic acid based filler is used. I do prefer Juvederm Ultra Plus in the lips because it is more form stable and longer lasting. The total procedure takes about 30 minutes in the office. After the lips are injected I advise the use of ice every 4 hours with the most common complaint being swelling and bruising. This usually resolves after 2 weeks. The volume usually lasts for over 8 months in this area.

Other procedures which can be applied to the lips include laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels to eliminate fine lines, Botox to help smooth fine lines and excisional procedures like the “lip lift” which can help contour the shape of the lip.

All of your options for lip augmentation and perioral rejuvenation will be discussed with Dr. Trussler. He does perform the procedures and will help guide you to achieving beautiful, natural appearing lips.