What Can Be Done Permanently About my Thin Upper Lip? (photo)

I'm looking for a permanant solution for my very thin upper lip. Is it even possible for me to have a fuller upper lip?

Doctor Answers 15

Permanent solution to thin lips

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The options for augmenting the size of your lips are many and you have the privilege of choosing which best suits your needs. 

  Permanent surgical solutions include fat grafts or SMAS transplants versus various types of implants (silicon, Alloderm, or ect). Am important consideration is that most implants come pre-sized and are simply placed by the surgeon, rather then sculpted. 

  In my opinion injectable fillers represent the best option for artistic upper/lower lip volumizers.  Rather then just being placed into position, injectable fillers offer the opportunity to augment specific areas of the upper and lower lips.  There are both temporary (Juvederm / Restylane) and relatively permanent fillers (Silikon 1000 / Artefill).

Hope this helps.


San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Upper lip permanent solucions

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Thank you for the question and the photos.  My bias is not to have firm permanent substances, (silicone, etc.), in the face in general and the lips in particular.  Your face will change over time, and typically what you put in may have to be removed.  We have taken many implantable devices out of lips.  Some will do a nice job on the lip lift.  It is a surgical procedure, so it must be taken seriously.  My suggestion for now is to continue with the filler.  Best to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Otolaryngologist, (ENT).  They will help make a plan for you.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Permanently Enhance Thin Lips

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Permanently enhancing your upper lip can be done with either Fat Transfer or having a lip implant surgery. With fat transfer you will have fat that is harvested from another part of your body injected into the lips. Some patients prefer this method because it is natural and the results are very soft and natural looking. The down side to fat transfer is the possibility that you will lose some of the plumpness in the lips over time. On the other hand lip implants will not lose any volume over time, but the lips may not be quite as soft as it is with fat transfer. Having a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is recommended to further go over the options that is best for you.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Lip Implant OR Surgical Lip Augmentation are the best choices for you

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You can choose either a lip implant OR a surgical lip augmentation.

If you choose a "permanent" implant, there are numerous substances that I commonly use as a graft or implant material in the lips. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • AlloDerm is a popular human-donor grafting material that is FDA approved and proven safe in lip augmentation and facial reconstruction. Under a local anesthesia, the material is inserted through tiny incisions made in the inside corners of the mouth. Delicate absorbable stitches that dissolve are used. The material is often absorbed, so that the results are only temporary, lasting from 12-18 months. This procedure takes about 15 minutes in the office under local anesthesia.
  • Advanta and Gore-Tex have been shown to produce reliable and predictable results with few complications. These materials do not shrink and are never absorbed into the body making the procedure permanent. It also remains in place because scar tissue forms on both ends holding it in place. To insert Advanta and Gore-Tex, a small incision is made in the inside of the lip. The material is then made into the shape of a small tube and it is inserted with a needle.
  • Fat grafting produces lasting results in most of the people who try it. Although it is possible that the body will reabsorb it, many people choose fat grafting because they are most comfortable with using the fat from their own body to enhance their lips. The fat is harvested from another area of the body, often the abdomen. It is then prepared and inserted with a needle into the lip from more than one point.
  • SurgiSil is new to the market but promises a safe, definitive solution for permanent tissue augmentation.Surgisil is a patented, FDA approved device designed for tissue augmentation of the lips and has undergone extensive clinical testing to ensure its safety and efficacy. It is made of a soft, solid silicone elastomer using an injection molding process to produce a naturally contoured implant with a smooth, non-porous surface. The implant cannot rupture or deflate, and may be removed at any time. I have see great results with this product.

If you opt for Lip Augmentation through a Surgical Solution, you will certainly have a permanent result.

  • Surgical enhancement of the lips provides a permanent alternative to injections and implants.
  • Surgical enhancement usually takes less than one hour to perform in office under local anesthesia.
  • Careful and fine incisions are created to shape the lips into their desired shape and form.
  • Direct Lip Lifting creates a fuller upper and/or lower lip with imperceptible incisions. This precise procedure allows the patient to state just how full you want your lip and that is where I can place the new lip line.
  • As the lip ages, the corner of the mouth tends to droop. Other procedures such as the Corner of the Lip Lift enable the lip to be reshaped so that the frown can be improved and a youthful upturned lip can be achieved.
  • Local flaps bring material from inside the mouth outside to enhance the lips. Results are permanent. An incision may be made inside the mouth to push the tissue inside the mouth upward, and outward, into the lip, sometimes in conjunction with grafting. Or, an incision may be along the upper lip line. In this case, skin above the lip is removed, and the lip is then stitched along the line of the incision.

Being specific with the result that you are hoping for and consult with a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon to determine what technique will be best for you.  Best of luck.

Dr. Clevens

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Permanent Lip Augmentations

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The lip can be augmented with the patient's own tissues (fat injections), biologic tissue fillers (Restylane, collagen, alloderm), or soft synthetic implants (Advanta, SoftForm, Gor-tex).

The lip is an area where I don't see fat grafting as the first choice because the lip moves a lot and it interferes with the take of the graft. I actually prefer synthetic fillers in the lip, or a lip lift.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Silicone Excellent For Lip Augmentation

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It is definitely possible for you to have a fuller upper lip and I recommend that you consult a board-certified dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon for consultation to discuss treatment options.  In our office we use liquid injectable silicone (Silikon 1000, LIS) for lip augmentation as it is very precise and permanent.  Our patients are thrilled with their results and, despite what many other physicians believe and say, we have never had any complications or adverse reactions injecting LIS into the lips for augmentation.  

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Thin upper lip

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Permanent solutions are either fat grafting , dermal fat grafts, or alloplastic implants. The alloplastic implants are not great they can extrude.  Fat injection has been found not to be too successful.  I would avoid free silicon injections because they are known to cause many problems.

My preference are the resorbable fillers like Perlane or Juvederm.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

What Can Be Done Permanently About my Thin Upper Lip?

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  Aesthetically both your lips are relatively thin.  The proper lip proportion, of the upper to lower lip, is the most important aesthetic factor in creating naturally beautful and attractive lips.  I have used various lip implants for Lip Augmentation and published a scientific paper on the subject.  Alloderm lip implants are the gold standard IMO and I have been very pleased with the results in the 15 years using this product..  

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Thin Upper Lip Correction?

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Obviously, cannot make definitive recommendation from one photograph, but either lip lift, volumizing treatment, or both will improve the upper lip aesthetics.  Start with temporary filler, and if you like the effect, consider longer lasting option(s).  Lip lift will give you permanent increase in vertical vermilion, but whether or not it is indicated depends on relationship between upper lip and teeth, and also your nasal-labial anatomy, not visible in this close up shot with your mouth closed.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Permanent solution to thin upper lip? Consider lip implant or Silikon 1000

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  I agree with 2 of the doctors who replied, advising that lip implants can offer permanent, pleasing lip augmentation at a reasonable cost.  But although this is a VERY controversial subject on this forum, I find that Silikon 1000 can provide superb permanent augmentation.  Although other docotors believe that there is great risk of adverse reactions, I have never seen any of the problems they warn about and have had lots of patients delighted with the results achieved.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.