Achieving full lips is an elusive goal for many women. There is no doubt that lips are a focal point for most women, just look into any purse and chances are you’ll find several tubes of lipstick as proof of that. Lipstick, however, can only go so far before one need consider other options.
There are also more permanent surgical options. Since thinning of the lips frequently occurs with aging, I commonly augment lips together with facelifting as a rejuvenating procedure. The advantage in combining lip augmentation with a facelift, is that some of your own tissue removed from the face can be placed into the lips. When your own tissues are not available, other options include use of grafts like AlloDerm or Surgimend. Another permanent option are Perma lip implants which are soft silicone rubber.
All of these procedures increase lip bulk thereby allowing more pink lip to show. Typically these procedures are performed through only a couple of very small incisions nearly inside the mouth at the corners of the lips. The lips will swell afterwards and bruising is usually mild. The amount of time you take off depends mostly on whether you care if people see you with swollen lips. The procedure can be performed with or without sedation.
In more advanced cases, there may be virtually no pink lip showing at all. When this is the case, a procedure called a lip lift may be more appropriate. In a lip lift some of the skin of the upper lip (or lower lip) just above (or below) the lip margin is removed and the pink lip is then advanced upward (or downward). Not only does this add to your lips, but usually dramatically improves any “smokers” creases you may have around your mouth. After one week the sutures are removed and a couple of days later lipstick can be applied completely covering the healing tissues. After about two months lipstick is usually not necessary, as the area tends to heal very well. This procedure can be done with or without sedation.
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While many patients desire fuller lips, we also have patients with the opposite problem. These patients have lips that may be too full for their liking. this problem can be easily resolved under local anesthesia in our office.
A segment of the excess skin on the inside of the lip is marked for removal. We like to keep our incisions inside the lip so that there is no visible scar and also because it tends to help roll the lip inward. Local anesthesia is then injected into the lip so that it becomes numb for the duration of the procedure. The excess skin is removed and the incision is closed with soft sutures which are removed in five days to a week. Some swelling and bruising may occur. The patient is advised to keep their head elevated and to use cold compresses on the lip to minimize swelling. The patient is also asked to eat only a soft diet for the initial week following their procedure.