Lip Augmentation – The Essentials
During your consultation about hyaluronic acid lip injections, we will discuss the technique, types of fillers, the risk of complications, and anticipated results.
Lip augmentation has evolved over the years. Surgeries to augment the lip have fallen out of favor. Instead, lip injections have gained widespread popularity and have become the main method of modern lip augmentation. Lip fillers have the following advantages:
- non-surgical procedure
- relatively low cost compared to surgery
- performed during a regular office visit
- 20-minute technique
- ability to titrate to the lip size desired
- greater precision to alter lip shape
- rapid recovery
- quick return to normal activities
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally exists in our bodies. Its gel-like qualities, ease of injection, and commercial availability make it an ideal lip filler.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally exists in our bodies. This substance has been synthesized in the laboratory using non-animal methods. Commercially formulated hyaluronic acid preparations are shelf-stable, readily available, without allergy, bioresorbable, and proven to be safe. Its gel-like qualities, ease of injection, and commercial availability make it an ideal lip filler.
Many excellent commercial brands of hyaluronic acid formulations exist. At Cosmetic Surgery Montreal, we offer the full portfolio of Restylane hyaluronic acid gels. In our office, the preferred lip fillers include Kysse, Classic, and Vital. Our recommendations are tailored to your specific lip anatomy, desired outcome, expectations, and cost.
Two methods exist to nonsurgically introduce filler material into the lip.
Needle lip injection: Lip filler is placed using a fine gauge hollow bore hypodermic needle with a sharp beveled tip to pierce the lip. The short length of the needle necessitates multiple punctures, entry points, and injections. This technique has the advantage of precise product placement. It is the preferred technique for those who desire a stylized lip shape.
Cannula lip injection: A cannula has a hollow core, blunt tip, and long length. Cannula lip injection involves isolated entry points at the commissures (corners of the mouth). The long length of the cannula is tunneled centrally permitting smooth placement of the lip filler. Cannula placement of lip fillers has the advantage of less bruising and smooth placement of filler.
The choice between needle and cannula injection depends on the skill of your injector, the magnitude of precision necessary to address your specific anatomy, and your preferences.
Your pre-injection natural lip contours significantly influence the range of lip shape and volume possible. An experienced injector will be able to analyze your natural lip anatomy to determine what shapes and volumes are realistic with lip augmentation.
You will be better able to communicate your desired outcome if you are aware of how a lip is anatomically described. We suggest you review the image below to become familiar with common medical terms (vermillion, commissure, cupid’s bow) used to describe the lip.
- You will be offered a choice of filler (Kysse, Vital, Classic Restylane)
- Lip injection is performed during a routine office visit
- 20-minutes of treatment time is necessary to perform the procedure.
- All modern fillers contain a local anesthetic. The start of the procedure can be painful but diminishes as the injection progresses and the anesthetic takes effect. Lip numbness may persist for 2 hours.
- Swelling of the lips is usually apparent within 4 hours of treatment
- Most patients will experience swelling for 2 – 5 days.
- Our office will provide you with a soothing lip balm and ice packs.
- Many patients may wish to alter their social or professional engagements during the expected period of post-injection swelling.
- There are no remedies to diminish swelling. It is important to plan your social and professional calendar to account for the anticipated lip swelling.
Undesirable outcomes and complications are possible. Below is an abbreviated list of problems seen following lip augmentation:
- lip surface irregularities
- ecchymosis and bruising
- tissue necrosis
Financing and Convalescence
The price lip augmentation is proportionate to the quantity and type of hyaluronic acid used. Most lip injection patients use 1 syringe of filler. Each syringe of hyaluronic acid filler is priced at $600 to $700 + tax per 1 ml quantity. Prices do not include revision costs. If you request a touch-up, you will be charged fees associated with each extra syringe opened.
Payment for injections is made on the same day as your appointment. Our office accepts payment in cash, certified checks (bank drafts), Interac, or Visa / Mastercard credit cards. We also work with and an independent credit company that offers financial payment plans for cosmetic surgery procedures. However, you should be aware that the interest rates and administration fees of this specialized company are higher than traditional financial institutions. It is often better to negotiate a loan through your personal bank or financial institution. We encourage you to do your homework and compare the true financial cost of these various financial options.
The results of a lip augmentation procedure are immediately visible. Minor degrees of bruising and irregularities are expected and subside spontaneously in the first week.
Lip swelling is highly variable and can be substantial. Swelling can be delayed appearing 4 hours after lip injection. Most patients will experience swelling for 2-5 days.
There are no remedies to diminish swelling. It is important to plan your social and professional calendar to account for the anticipated lip swelling.
For patients desiring a substantial increase in lip size, we recommend staging 1 ml increments of lip fillers over multiple weeks. Staging a large volume lip augmentation will permit titration of filler to more precisely achieve the desired outcome.
The longevity of a hyaluronic acid lip injection varies from person to person. Visible changes diminish gradually over time. While some of our lip augmentation patients describe visible benefits for up to 1 year, many patients return for repeat lip injection within 6 months after the initial office procedure.
FAQ – LIP AUGMENTATION
Non-surgical lip augmentation can be combined with other injectable treatments, such as Botox or Dysport. Following lip injection, most patients experience swelling and may wish to reframe from social & professional activities until its spontaneous resolution in 2 – 5 days.
It is normal to have questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions about lip augmentation. It may help in deciding whether a lip filler is right for you.
Candidates for lip augmentation should:
- have no active infectious lesions on the lips or around the mouth (eg. cold sore)
- be in good health (eg. no serious or active illness, no pre-existing medical condition)
- have a realistic expectation
Lip augmentation is discouraged for:
- pregnant and breastfeeding women
- patients with a strong history of recurrent cold sores or skin infections
- patients with autoimmune disease
- immunocompromised patients
- Choose an experienced injector with a good reputation: Experience and reputation of the injector matter. They are more likely to use high-quality products and will often be more capable of managing a complication. Experienced injectors often carry an emergency supply of hyaluronidase, an antidote used to manage complications arising from injected hyaluronic acid.
- Choose a high-quality hyaluronic acid filler: Not all lip fillers are hyaluronic acid. Be sure you are familiar with the brand and quantity to be injected.
- Two weeks before the procedure, avoid medications that may increase bleeding. (ASA, Motrin, Advil)
- Plan your calendar: Most patients experience swelling and may wish to reframe from social & professional activities until its spontaneous resolution in 2 – 5 days.
Occasionally, the injected hyaluronic acid does not disperse evenly into the lip. On close inspection of the irregularity, 1-2 mm translucent bumps of pooled hyaluronic acid are often visible through the mucosa of the lip. If untreated, the hyaluronic acid will eventually resorb. This process may take months for the process to self-correct.
Active treatment of pooled hyaluronic acid by needle drainage or antidote injection of hyaluronidaise will expedite its resolution. Often the problem area is better 24 hours after treatment.
Many patients express concern that they will have saggy or droopy lips if they stop having lip injections. We reassure all our lip augmentation patients that this does not happen. When you stop having lip injections, the filler gradually resorbs and your lips simply return to their natural state.
Following lip fillers, most patients experience irritation and sensitivity of the mucosa for 2-5 days. We instruct our patients to avoid application of lip cosmetics during this period. Instead, we provide our patients with a gentle lip balm that will protect and promote healing. Vasoline is a good alternative to the lip balm.
Following lip augmentation, lip swelling is made worse by high-intensity activities. We advise our patients to avoid exercise and intense activities during the period of lip swelling (usually 2-5 days). Thereafter, normal daily routines can resume.