Natural, Predictable Results
Blending timeless techniques with state of the art procedures.
Having full, plump lips is often considered a sign of good health, beauty and youth. Whether you were born with thin lips or your lips are thinning due to the natural aging process, there are many ways to enhance them. Lip injections using natural or synthetic fillers can keep your lips plump for months at a time. Other options include fat grafting or transfers, lip lifts, vermillion (lip) advancement and permanent makeup. Every year, thousands of people undergo successful lip enhancement and are pleased with the results.
A WEALTH OF INFORMATION
Understanding the Lip Enhancement Procedure
When to Consider Lip Enhancement
- Your lips have always been thin and disappear when you smile
- As you age, your lips have become thinner and less full
- You feel self-conscious about how your lips look
- Having fuller lips will help balance out your face
- Some lip injections are temporary and can be modified to your preference
- Quick one-day recovery for injections and a week for most lip surgery
- Temporary fillers will require injections every few months
- Lip asymmetry is a possibility
These are the top two pros and cons to weigh when considering lip enhancement. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon or provider.
There are many different options to enlarge or enhance the size and shape of your lips: fat injections, filler injections, dermal grafting, vermillion advancement and lip lifting. Injections, grafting, and surgery can physically change the plumpness and volume of your lips, while lip lifts and vermillion advancement can change the shape and increase the amount of colored area of your lips.
Please call 888-463-9532 to schedule your Lip Enhancement in San Diego today!
Before You Decide…
Choosing Your Surgeon
There are several important factors to choosing a surgeon, including recommendations from friends, personality, physician training and board certification, and experience.
Referral from Friends: Many prospective patients find confidence if they have a close friend or other trusted individual who has already undergone a successful procedure. This is often a good first step in making a decision. However, not all patients know someone who has had surgery. Most of our patients are referred by satisfied friends who have been our patients.
Personality: It is important to develop a good relationship with a surgeon, where communication is easy and trust can be developed. A patient needs to feel intuitively that they are in good hands with someone they can trust. Bedside manner is important.
Training and Certification: In years past, only plastic surgeons performed cosmetic plastic surgery. However, in recent years doctors from many different specialties are more commonly performing cosmetic surgery procedures, including ear, nose, and throat doctors (also known as otolaryngologists and facial plastic surgeons), dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and gynecologists. Only a surgeon who has completed residency training in an accredited training program can become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There are many boards, and it is easy for patients to become confused or assume that when a doctor says they are “board certified,” it all means the same thing. BE CAREFUL!
Experience: Finally, consider the physician’s experience, the most important factor in making a decision. As with all professions, expertise is directly proportional to experience, meaning the total number of procedures performed. Medical literature illustrates that biggest predictor of success in surgery is volume, in other words, the number of times that a doctor has performed a procedure.
If the doctor is recommending a specific procedure, how many has he performed? How often does the surgeon perform this procedure?
While board certifications and training are important, a surgeon’s experience with the procedure itself is more important. Don’t hesitate to ask pointed questions about recommended procedures.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss what you want to achieve. Your provider will evaluate you for lip enhancement. Once the provider understands your goals, he or she may suggest additional or related procedures. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation. It’s a good idea to be fully prepared to answer these questions:
- Do you have any medical conditions or drug allergies?
- Are you being treated for any medical conditions?
- Have you had any previous surgeries?
- What are your current medications and vitamin and herbal supplements?
- What is your current use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs?
- What is your history with any noninvasive cosmetic procedures?
- What outcome do you expect from the surgery? What is your chief motivation in undergoing it?
Your surgeon may also:
- Ask you to look in a mirror and point out exactly what you would like to see improved.
- Take pictures for your medical record, measure your face and use computer imaging to show you improvements you can expect
- Evaluate your health status, including pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Evaluate the elasticity of your skin
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes, including risks or potential complications
- Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
Questions to Ask
We developed these questions to help you:
- Make the most informed and intelligent decisions about your procedure
- Confirm that you have the right provider for your procedure
- Make your initial consultation as rewarding as possible
- Understand your options, potential outcomes, and risks
It is important for you to take an active role in your procedure, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
- Am I a good candidate for lip enhancement?
- Are the results I am seeking reasonable and realistic?
- Do you have lip enhancement before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure?
- How many lip enhancement procedures have you performed?
- Where will you perform my lip enhancement surgery and how long will it take?
- What kind of anesthesia do you recommend for me?
- What will be the costs associated with my procedure?
- What will you expect of me to get the best results?
- What kind of recovery period can I expect, and when can I resume normal activities?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- What are my options if the cosmetic outcome of my lip enhancement procedure does not meet the goals we agreed on?
Who is a good candidate?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider lip enhancement:
- Good candidates for lip enhancement want to plump up thin lips or create a fuller look. If you smile and your top lip or both lips disappear, you may benefit from lip augmentation.
- Some techniques can improve uneven lips, the shape of your mouth and gum-show when you smile.
- On the other hand, if your lips are too large and overwhelm your face, speak to your plastic surgeon about lip reduction surgery.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
What does it cost?
The cost of lip enhancements varies depending on the techniques used, from doctor to doctor, and from one geographic area to another.
Because lip enhancement is an elective procedure, insurance does not cover these costs. Many providers offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
To learn more about our partner in payment plans, please visit CareCredit.
Want to Talk to Dr. Alexander?
Because every case is unique, the only way to accurately give you advice is to consult with Dr. Alexander. Use this form to schedule a visit.
The Lip Enhancement Procedure
Preparing for the Procedure
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
During a preoperative appointment, usually 1-2 weeks before surgery, we will:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Tell you what to do on the night before and morning of surgery
- Discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Explain post-operative care and follow-up, and what help you will need after the procedure
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. We will recommend the best choice for you based on your personality, your desires, and the complexity of your procedure.
How We Do It: Tutorial
There are many methods for lip enhancement. Our providers will offer you options depending on your aesthetic goals and recovery time frame. It might be appropriate to have two or more of these procedures to achieve the right look for you.
Injections – fat transfer
In fat transfer, autologous fat (fat from your own body) can be taken via liposuction from another area of your body and injected into your lips. Injections may need to be repeated until you get the desired result.
Injections – dermal fillers
Fillers made from natural or synthetic biocompatible material acts as a fat substitute to plump up the lip. One treatment is usually sufficient to produce the desired result. The results, however, may be temporary and require repeat injections.
Surgery – vermillion advancement
This procedure involves making an incision along the border of the colored portion of the lips, removing a strip of skin outside the border and then pulling the colored portion to increase the area of the lips.
Surgery – lip lift
Removing extra skin and lifting the lips will help those with loose skin or those who have a downward sloping mouth. To increase the upper lip, an incision is made under the nose and the skin is shortened to pull up the lips. Other lift techniques can shorten the upper lip to expose more teeth. To lift a downward turning mouth, small incisions are made on the side of the mouth and the extra skin is removed. Very small sutures are used for this procedure and removed four to five days later.
The decision to lip enhancement is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the beneﬁts will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your plastic surgeon and/or provider will explain in detail the risks associated with the procedure.
We will explain in detail the risks associated with the procedure. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
The risks include:
- Lip asymmetry
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Change in skin sensation (numbness)
- Unfavorable scarring
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration and swelling
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Vascular Occlusion
- Anesthesia risks
The downtime from nonsurgical options (filler injections) is minimal. You may experience some bruising or swelling which will subside with time.
Your provider will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about:
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complication.
Immediately after lip enhancement (surgical)
You will experience postoperative bruising and swelling, with mild to moderate discomfort for a day or two. A cold compress can be applied to the operative site to reduce swelling, bruising and pain. You may be restricted to a liquid-only diet for one or two days. You will most likely be mobile the day of your surgery, but your activities will be restricted.
Recovery time frame
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains if placed, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first two weeks
- You should be able to return to work and other normal activities within a week.
- Stitches are removed in four to six days; sutures placed inside the mouth will dissolve in a similar period of time.
- You may be restricted to a soft diet for up to ten days.
Week two to eight
- After four to six weeks, vigorous physical activity can be resumed.
Injections with dermal fillers can be performed in the office with little to no downtime and minimal preparation. The surgeon or specialist will prep the area to be treated and may apply numbing cream. The procedure should take less than an hour in most cases, and you will be given instructions to follow once you leave the office.
Fat and other natural or synthetic materials may be injected safely into your lips to add volume.
Surgical lip enhancement
Your lip enhancement procedure may be performed in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility or office-based surgical suite. Most procedures take at least thirty minutes to two hours to complete.
- Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
- General anesthesia is commonly used during your lip enhancement procedure, although local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be desirable in some instances.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
- If you are having fat transfer surgery, liposuction will be performed to remove viable fat to be injected into your lips.
- After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. After surgery, you may have stitches.
How long the results last from your lip enhancement procedure depends on the treatment chosen and your reaction to the treatment.
- Fat injections may require multiple injections but could lead to permanent lip enhancement.
- Filler injections results depend on the type of filler used. Some fillers last from three to six months, while others last almost a year.
- Lip lifting, and vermillion advancement provide essentially permanent results.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic provider
For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your provider’s office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your facial implants. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.