Lip Augmentation: Injectables vs. Implants

Lip Augmentation: Injectables vs. Implants

Lip Augmentation is a cosmetic procedure designed to enhance the appearance of naturally thin lips. In lip augmentation, collagen or fat is injected to create fuller, plumper lips and to reduce wrinkles around the mouth.  Patients who want longer-lasting options also have the option of lip implants.

Candidates for Lip Augmentation

Individuals considering lip augmentation must be in good health and free from diseases such as diabetes, lupus, connective tissues disorders, blood clotting problems, oral herpes and scarring. It is also imperative that you tell your doctor if you have allergies or are taking any medications.

Types of Lip Augmentation
There are many options available when choosing a material for lip augmentation.  Lip augmentation can be performed by injectable fillers or by having natural or synthetic implants surgically inserted into the lips. Collagen injections have a short-term effect, about 9 to 12 weeks; fat injections can last longer but can be more unpredictable in their results, and may have more side effects. The injectable fillers require multiple procedures to maintain fuller lips, while surgical implants are permanent. Temporary procedures like collagen injection are ideal for individuals who want to experiment with fuller lips but not commit to them.

The Procedure
Before treatment, a topical anesthesia like lidocaine may be applied directly to the lips to act as a painkiller for the injections.  During the procedure, a natural material such as collagen or fat or a synthetic material is injected or implanted in the lips. Injections may need to be repeated to get the desired results. Implants are normally inserted through tiny incisions in the corners of the mouth. AlloDerm, a popular implant made from donated skin, eventually becomes part of the patient’s natural tissues.

Risks and Complications
Patients may experience allergic reactions, swelling, redness and itching on the injected area, which may take several days to a week to fully heal. Other complications can result in bleeding, uneven lips, or movement of the implants. Patients may also have reactions to the local anesthetic. Fat injections are especially unpredictable and can result in lumping or scarring.

Whether you choose injectables or implants to enhance your lips, it is vital to find a skilled cosmetic surgeon that is experienced in lip augmentation.  It is also critical to understand the pros and cons of each lip augmentation option (injectable vs. implant) and be aware of the possible side effects of the material you choose (collagen, fat, or synthetic).

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