Accentuating Lips


Lips are a very sensitive part of the human body and an important part of characterizing the human face.  Through lips, love is expressed, words are communicated, and sensitivity is experienced.

It is no wonder that women spend so much time trying to beautify their lips for these reasons.  However, some women are born with naturally thin lips, while other women lose the fullness of their lips with aging.  Luckily, fillers are now available that provide an excellent option for accentuating the lips naturally, giving them a supple and full appearance.

Hyaluronic acid fillers including Restylane and Juvederm are best for lip enhancement.  If you have been paying attention to previous e-newsletters, you’ll know we do have them available at our office.

Fillers for the lips are nothing new, dating back to 1981 with the introduction of the original collagen fillers better known as lip implants.  These fillers unfortunately had multiple problems, including but not limited to giving people lips that were too big.  And although many women prefer to have larger lips, looking like Mick Jagger is probably not their desired result.

In 2003, a new competitor came on the scene in the form of Hyaluronic acid fillers, and they received FDA approval for use on the face and the lips.  Restylane, the first FDA-approved Hyaluronic acid, was able to provide the building block for living tissue to provide fullness to the lips in a very precise way.  Additionally, these fillers are extremely hydrophilic, which means that they attract water resulting in a smooth and natural appearance for fuller lips even weeks after the injection.  In 2006, Juvederm became available and approved.  This is slightly thicker than Restylane and as a result lasts longer and provides more “plumping” than Restylane does.

As I stated previously, the best candidates for lip augmentation with fillers are patients who have naturally thin lips, or have had loss of their lip border because of aging.  The filler injection improves the lips to give them a very nice and natural look.  Most women prefer the subtle but definitive improvement in appearance of the lips and do not want their lips expanded to “movie star” proportions.

I generally recommend that patients who get these injections immediately stop taking any medication that may thin the blood for at least 1-2 weeks prior to the injection.  Such medications include aspirin, ibuprofen and fish oil.  Since the lips have a great deal of circulation, bruising can occur or be worsened if these products are in your system.

Prior to the injection, my staff numbs the lips with a topical Novocain cream.  I also pre-mix both Restylane and Juvederm with Novocain before injecting it.  This does not eliminate the pain but makes the process easier and definitely reduces the amount of pain.

Following the treatment, my staff will apply an anti-bruising Vitamin K based cream which helps to reduce the amount of bruising as well as its severity.  Cold compresses can also be applied to the lips which will help to reduce bruising and any of the initial swelling following injection.  Lipstick may be applied within 6 hours of the treatment, and most people are able to return to their normal schedule the following day without problems.  Patients can eat or drink following the procedure, although I generally discourage hot liquids for at least 6-12 hours after the treatment.  I also recommend limiting kissing until the next day.

My experience has been excellent with using fillers to enhance the lips, and nearly all my patients are very satisfied with their results.  The benefits can last for as long as 6-9 months, although some patients state that the filler lasts longer.  If you have any questions concerning this treatment and whether it would benefit you, please contact Becky at (207) 873-2158 to arrange a free consultation.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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