Lip augmentation is a procedure to provide more fullness to the lips and improved shape. It can be performed in patients who have innately thin lips or in patients who have lost lip volume from the aging process.
Four techniques are more commonly utilized:
- Fat grafts or injection
- Dermal/fat injection
Alloderm lip augmentation uses a product derived from human skin or dermis which has been treated to remove all cellular components. This “collagen matrix” serves as a scaffolding into which the body replaces its own collagen. Eventually the Alloderm resorbs leaving the body’s own new collagen to produce the result. Placement of the Alloderm is done in the office under local anesthesia. Small incisions are made at the corners of the mouth, an instrument is used to create a tunnel for the graft and it is pulled into position. There is inevitably some loss of volume in the lip augmentation over time however, most patients maintain approximately 50% of the result long term.
Fat graft or fat injection lip augmentation involves using liposuction to remove fat from an area of the body such as the abdomen, hips or thighs with a small canula attached to a syringe. It is subsequently injected in small strands into the lips. A certain percentage of the graft may resorb or dissolve, requiring a subsequent procedure for optimum improvement. For fat that has successfully “taken” results can be permanent
Dermal/fat graft lip augmentation involves excising a piece of skin with its underlying fat, usually in an area of a previous scar, such as a c-section scar. The superficial layer of the skin surface (epidermis) is then removed and the graft is placed in the same fashion as an Alloderm graft. Some resorption is expected but a reasonable percentage of volume enhancement is permanent.
Restylane lip augmentation involves injection of a biocompatible gel made of a material called hyaluronic acid. This will provide any degree of enlargement desired for a period of up to six months. Restylane injection is performed in the office and requires a local anesthetic.