Like other features of the face, the lips can go through changes over time. Loss of volume due to collagen depletion and sun damage can affect this delicate area the same way they can lead to loose skin and the formation of wrinkles. The lips can thin, creating a worried or angry appearance, even when that is not how you feel. In some cases, the lips may have never sported the full look you want. With a greater focus on a plumper pout today, that lack of definition around the mouth may seem even more insufficient.
Whether you have had thin lips your whole life or have lost your pucker through the aging process, lip augmentation is a proven way to create shape, volume and definition. Lip injections with temporary dermal fillers are reasonably priced and can be done during your lunch hour in most cases, while lip injections with fat transfer offer extremely long lasting results, and utilize unwanted fat from other parts of your body. No matter what type of lip injections you choose, Dr. Barrett and his experienced team performs lip augmentations right in his office in Beverly Hills, using proven products and techniques that can bring you the enhancement you desire.
What are Lip Injections?
Lip injections involve administering a volumizing agent to the lips, which helps to enhance their size and shape. The most common options for lip enhancement are dermal fillers and fat grafting. These two options can be injected into the lips to restore fullness that has been lost over time, or to sculpt a plushness that never was.
Dermal fillers have been utilized for many years to smooth away wrinkles and restore youthful volume to the face, reversing some of the adverse effects of the aging process. Today, they have proven even more versatile with the addition of lip plumping to their long list of benefits. The dermal fillers used for lip augmentation treatments tend to be smoother with smaller particles than other formulations, producing natural volume without looking overdone. Dr. Barrett and his team use Juvederm, an FDA-approved product with hyaluronic acid at the base. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in healthy human tissue and is widely used to treat wrinkles and augment the lips. Beyond adding volume, the hydrophilic nature of hyaluronic acid means that lips treated with this substance tend to look and feel more hydrated and less chapped.
Autologous fat transfer to the lips involves drawing small portions of fat from a donor site on the body, purifying the fat cells, then injecting it to the lips. Because the fat is drawn directly from the patient’s body, there will be no chance of an allergic reaction. While some fat may be reabsorbed by the body in the weeks or months after the treatment, the rest of the surviving cells will remain indefinitely, providing a permanent result that patients can enjoy for years to come.
Which Lip Injectable is Right for You?
For first time lip enhancement patients, Dr. Barrett typically recommends the use of a temporary hyaluronic acid based filler, as it is important that patients love their results before committing to a procedure with much longer lasting effects. Additionally, temporary lip filler injectables have much less associated downtime than fat transfers to the lips, and a shorter procedure time.
In contrast, fat transfer to the lips is more suitable for patients who have experienced temporary lip enhancement and want something more economically viable in the long run. While one or two touch up treatments may be needed after the first fat transfer, the eventual results will remain for good, reducing the need to schedule consistent treatments multiple times a year.
Based on your medical history and aesthetic goals, Dr. Barrett will educate you on all your options so you can decide on the best course of action for you.
Are Lip Injections Right for You?
Lip injections can benefit both men and women looking to reshape their lips or add subtle fullness around the mouth. The individuals that reap the most significant rewards from lip fillers tend to have the following aesthetic goals:
- Increase lip size or add subtle volume to the lips
- Create definition to the mouth that has been lost over time
- Correct asymmetries to the lips
- Smooth away vertical lines above the lips (known as lipstick or smokers lines)
Dr. Barrett will assess your situation to determine whether lip fillers will be the best way to help you achieve these goals.
Making the Right Choice in Injectors
Dermal fillers are offered by plastic surgeons, dermatologists and family practitioners. They are also available through med spas and by providers that may claim to be “expert injectors.” While some may indeed have the qualifications necessary to administer these injections safely, the experience and intricate knowledge of a seasoned plastic surgeon and his experienced and well-qualified team promise an optimal outcome in comparison. Dr. Barrett is known for taking sufficient time with each patient to understand concerns and goals, so he can produce a result that meets your expectations. This extra time and attention make Dr. Barrett a top choice in Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, whether you are looking for an extensive surgical procedure or a quick injectable treatment.
Lip Injections or a Lip Lift?
Dr. Barrett also offers surgical lip enhancement, which provides permanent improvement. Unlike lip fillers, a surgical lip lift can enhance the symmetry of the mouth, and even alter the distance between the nose and the lip for a more youthful and rejuvenated look.
During your in-person consultation, Dr. Barrett will go over your options with you to determine the right choice for you. If you opt for lip filler injections, you may be able to proceed with your treatment on the same day as your consultation.
Preparing for Your Procedure
When performed by an experienced surgeon, temporary and permanent lip injections are a safe and straightforward process. However, there are steps you can take before your treatment to increase your likelihood of a complication-free procedure. Dr. Barrett may recommend the following to minimize bruising and swelling risk:
- Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications before your therapy since these can increase your bleeding and bruising risk slightly. Substances in this category include naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Some supplements can have a similar effect to the medications listed above. Talk to Dr. Barrett if you take fish oil, vitamin E or St. John’s Wort. He may recommend stopping these substances for a few days before your treatment as well. Do not smoke in the days leading up to your injections. Nicotine works as a vasoconstrictor, which may create a higher risk for bleeding and bruising during and after your treatment.
- Hydrate well before your procedure to ensure your skin is in its healthiest possible state before your injections are administered.
You may have additional recommendations based on your medical history or specific concerns. The closer you follow this advice, the more likely it is that your treatment will be safe, comfortable and successful.
Dermal lip fillers can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to complete, allowing for time for the numbing medication to take effect before the injections are administered. Most patients will require a single syringe of Juvederm to achieve the results they want, although this can vary depending on the condition of your lips. Many patients find this procedure is not nearly as painful as they might have feared. Dr. Barrett takes numerous precautions to make your experience as painless as possible. These steps include topical numbing cream, ice packs and an injectable numbing medication. Most of Dr. Barrett’s patients claim a shot in the arm is more uncomfortable than their lip injections.
If you opt for lip augmentation with fat transfer, Dr. Barrett will perform your liposuction using the S.A.F.E. three step technique, which is less invasive and minimizes downtime. Once the fat is extracted and purified, Dr. Barrett will then inject it into the lips. Your safety and comfort throughout this procedure is of utmost importance to us.
After Your Lip Injections
You will be able to return to your activities immediately following your lip injections. However, you may find your lips become swollen temporarily, sometimes up to one week, with accompanying bruising. Swelling can often be confused with a less-than-stellar result, so we encourage patients to wait a week to let that swelling subside before determining whether the outcome meets their expectations. In cases where excessive swelling occurs, or the patient does not like their results, Juvederm can be dissolved within minutes using a special dissolving agent.
Once the swelling goes down completely, you should see subtle fullness to your lips that enhances your appearance without belying the fact you had lip injections. The results of a dermal filler treatment typically last six months or longer. If you want to maintain your new look indefinitely, you will need to schedule regular treatment sessions at our office. The results from fat injections on the other hand, should last indefinitely. We do offer rewards programs and financing to help make these procedures more cost-effective for you.
LIP AUGMENTATION WITH FAT TRANSFER
Fat transfer lip augmentation is a viable alternative for women who want to rejuvenate their mouth without using synthetic fillers or implants. Dr. Barrett is skilled in performing this procedure for patients desiring more youthful faces using their own, natural fat cells. The following scenarios are also reason to consider breast fat grafting:
- If you have facial features that appear creased and sunken
- If you desire more permanent correction than is provided by temporary fillers
- If you wish to improve your facial contour, revise scars, fill noticeable under eye depressions and rejuvenate the natural roundness of your facial cheeks
Results and Recovery
For the two to four weeks following surgery, it is common to feel some swelling, numbness, bruising, tightness, and/or tension in the face and neck region. While these side effects will often create a somewhat uneven or distorted appearance, they will disappear within a few months. Even though you might not notice the changes that have been made to your face, most patients actually feel comfortable and confident with their new look by day ten post-surgery, and many of them even return to work after 2-3 weeks. Dr. Barrett will provide more specific instructions on how to best care for yourself during the recovery period customized on your condition and surgery.
Achieving a Fuller Pout
When your lips don’t look proportionate to the rest of your facial features, it can throw your entire appearance off balance. By adding – or restoring – subtle plumping to the lips, we can produce a more youthful, vibrant look overall. Dr. Barrett provides both dermal fillers and fat transfer treatments to his patients daily for a wide range of cosmetic needs and has the experience and expertise necessary to provide you with a positive experience and an optimal outcome. To learn more about lip injections, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648.