I have noticed a very large spike in requests for lip fillers in the past year, and I am not the only one. At the most recent annual meeting of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, I met a number of other doctors in my field who had noted the same phenomenon.
According to a new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgery, 27,000 lip filler procedures were performed last year in the United States alone. That is the equivalent of one procedure every 20 minutes.
The other aspect of this lip phenomenon is that the demographic groups for lip filler are considerably younger than those who use fillers elsewhere in the face. Most of the women who come in wanting fuller lips frequently will bring in photos, typically on their phones, showing how they want their lips to look.
The photos are generally of celebrities who have naturally full lips, like Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie. However, other photos also include those who clearly have enhanced lips, like Kylie Jenner.
I definitely like it when patients bring in those photos because it gives me a clear idea of how they want their lips to look. The lip photos can start a discussion of what can be achievable with filler as well as how much filler to use.
Some want fuller lips, but want them to look natural. Others want very full lips, and do not care if they looks like they have had filler.
The vast majority of lip enhancing procedures for both men and women involve injections of the naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid (HA) which is the major chemical component of collagen. At Maine Laser Skin Care, I personally prefer the use of Juvederm, although there are other brands of HA produced by other companies.
Part of our consultation prior to injection will involve how much filler to use to get the effect you want. We will also discuss whether you want just the upper lip plumped or you want both lips treated.
Because the lips are obviously very sensitive and contain many nerve endings, I pay a great amount of attention to applying excellent anesthesia to the lips before even attempting lip filler injections. For at least 15 minutes, you will have a strong anesthetic ointment applied and rubbed into your lips.
I will generally start with the upper lip and make sure that both sides are symmetrical before moving on the lower lip if needed. Since the Juvederm product I use has Novacaine mixed in, those whose lips I am treating are usually quite comfortable once I begin the injections.
After the injections, or the “needle work”, are done, I will palpate the lips to smooth out the filler and shape the filler as evenly as possible. After the injection and the shaping process, I will discuss what improvements you will see immediately and in the near future.
You will notice an improvement right away as soon as I finish the procedure, which will be about two-thirds (2/3) of the full eventual effect. Over the next several weeks, the filler will integrate with your own naturally-existing collagen and will also attract tissue fluid into that area, which will plump up the lips even further to a more full level.
In the immediate period after your injection, you need to avoid heat to your lips, including hot liquids such as coffee and tea, since the filler is very sensitive to heat especially in the first few weeks. Also, definitely and positively NO SMOKING, as smoking speeds up the breakdown of filler in the same way that it degrades your own collagen.
If, despite our best efforts, your lips are not full enough for your taste, we can always add more filler. If your lips are to your satisfaction, which the vast majority of my patients report, results will generally be maintained for up to a year.
Later, if fullness decreases over time, the lips can be touched up easily. In fact, most people think their lips look even better when they are touched up, as the new filler complements and improves upon the look of the previous injections.
If you are considering hopping on the full-lip bandwagon, just call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation. By photo and in person, you and I can assess the natural shape of your lips and how we can improve their appearance.
You can bring in a photo of what you want your lips to look like. That photo can be of a particular celebrity, or you can bring in an old photo of what your lips looked like in the past so we can rejuvenate them to that previous level.