What You Need to Know About Lip Augmentation

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Lip augmentation is a procedure aimed at increasing the fullness of your lips. This is accomplished by injecting (or implanting surgically) various substances (called dermal fillers) in your lips, to plump them up. Lip injections are often performed in the office or in spas. Surgical implantation requires a sterile operating suite.

Here are the dermal fillers most commonly used in lip augmentation:

  • Collagen - a natural injectable substance which gives the skin its support; bovine collagen (derived from cows) is the usual source; effects last 3 to 4 months, and must be repeated to maintain the desired effect.
  • HylaForm, Restlyane - clear injectable gels made from hyaluronic acid, similar to the hyaluronic acid naturally found in the human body; Hylaform lasts about 3 months, while Restylane lasts about 6 months.
  • Radiance - injectable filler made of calcium-based microspheres suspended in a water-based gel; provides both immediate and extended results because it stimulates production of collagen and encourages tissue regeneration; lasts up to 1 to 2 years.
  • Autologous Fat - the patient's own fat; no risk of rejection, but most of the fat is eventually re-absorbed by the body, so repeated treatments are necessary; provides longer-lasting results than collagen, but can have lumping or scarring effects, and must be harvested from another part of the patient's body.
  • Alloderm, Dermalogen - products made from donated cadaver tissue which eventually becomes integrated with the patient's own natural tissues; is not rejected by the body; generally produces a pliable, natural feel.
  • Autologen - injectable dermal implant material made from the patient's own skin; no risk of rejection.
  • Fascia - donor tissue made from the dense white connective tissue that supports body structure; can be used as an injectable or a surgical implant.
  • Gore-Tex, Soft-Form - permanent, synthetic surgical implants which do carry a small risk of rejection by the body, though they are generally well-tolerated.
  • VeraFil - inflatable saline implants (yes, like breast implants); like all saline-filled implants, there is a risk of deflation; although long-lasting, will probably eventually need to be replaced.
  • Laser Lip Rejuvenation - not actually an augmentation procedure, but can provide a lifting and smoothing effect to the lips by tightening the lips' underlying collagen and elastin support structure.

Click here, here and here so see before-and-after shots of lip augmentation.


Interview with Fardad Forouzanpour, DO, FACOS, FAACS, Beverly Hills, CA; September 29, 2008

Lip Augmentation, Consumer Information Sheet, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Product Information Sheet on Brand-Name Dermal Fillers, Liquid Face Lift Association; 

Edited by Richard N. Fogoros, MD

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