Augmenting The Lips

lips_smileAlthough I use a large amount of dermal filler in multiple locations of the face here at Maine Laser Skin Care, the lips are a small but steadily growing area of treatment with injectable fillers.  Lip augmentation is basically any cosmetic procedure that results in fuller and plumper lips.  Currently, injectable dermal filler is the most common and effective method to augment and enhance the lips.

There are several types of fillers that can be used for lip enhancement, but the most common component is hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance within the body that is also the major chemical component of collagen.

Other methods of lip augmentation include fat injections and actual implants. However, both of these methods are not commonly used due to variable results and increased risk of side effects.

Hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Juvederm, which is my filler of choice, can improve the appearance of lips by complementing their shape, structure and volume.  The full effects of the injections generally last about 6 months, after which they will gradually lessen over time.  After the 6-month point, further injections will be needed to maintain the volume enhancing effects.

Once injected, the filler helps to support and shape the tissues of the lips.  Don’t be fooled by the garish lips of the Hollywood types who populate TMZ and the reality shows.  Lip filler does not, and should not, have to look that way.

lip_injectWhen I inject filler into the lips, I can precisely control the amount of filler volume.  I always tell patients that it is much easier to add than subtract, meaning that lip augmentation does not have to be done all at once.  Depending on the individual’s timeline, injections can be done gradually over several appointments until the desired effects are achieved.

I can perform lip augmentation by filler relatively quickly in my office with little or no downtime.  Prior to the procedure, my assistant will apply a topical numbing cream to ease the process.

Despite the numbing cream application, you will feel a small pinprick and some pressure when I inject the filler into the lips.  Depending on your needs, injections can be done on the top and/or bottom lips, although the top lip alone is most common.

Following the injections, I will massage the area gently and basically mold the filler into the desired contour within your lips.  Since the lips have a large amount of circulation, a small amount of local bleeding can occur, which is easily controlled with pressure and application of a cold pack.  Occasionally, a bruise may occur at the site of injection, but this usually resolves quickly and cold packs help with this as well.

juvederm_lips_before_&_afterCost of the procedure can vary depending on the amount of filler injected.  The filler pricing is based per syringe of filler used.  A syringe can only be used on one patient due to sterility concerns.

Having said that, the amount of filler used in the lips is not nearly as much as is needed to fill other areas of the face as the lips are obviously a relatively small area and volume.  Price can be as low as $375, producing a nice subtle enhancement of the upper lip which is often the area of most concern.

As I have said in many past blog posts,  I am very conservative in terms of use of these materials and I want you to look better, younger in appearance, and not like “you have had work done.”  My patient satisfaction is quite high with this philosophy here in Maine, but will probably not get me invited to work on The Real Housewives of Anywhere programs.

If you would like to discuss your lip concerns and how I could help, please don’t hesitate to call (207) 873-2158 to schedule 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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