7 May 2020 onur
Lip augmentation has been one of the most popular aesthetic practices in recent years.
As in all practices that are rapidly becoming popular, facts and myths are intertwined in lip augmentation as well.
Let’s sort things out.
What is Lip Augmentation?
Lip filler is the common name for the materials injected into lips to plump them. We most often use a biological material called “Hyaluronic Acid” (HA) for lip augmentation. You can imagine it as some sugar jelly that is also produced by the body itself. The type of the material used in lip augmentation is critical to you. Do not think, “Oh, what do I know? The doctor always knows better.” There are hundreds of different types of hyaluronic acid. There are the high quality HA, mediocre HA, cheap HA and expensive HA, and there are those approved or not approved by health authorities. In principle, we use only FDA-approved products as lip fillers.
Permanence Issue in Lip Augmentation
The HA fillers we use for lip augmentation remain permanent for 3 to 12 months. The reason for the variability is your constitution. If your immune system and the filler molecule click together, their marriage can be a long-term one. If your body feels not so familiar with the filler molecule, it can dissolve it faster. However, in any case, this union is doomed to end at some point. When lip augmentation is performed using absorbable materials, the application needs to be repeated every 6 months or once a year. Imagine getting lip augmentation at the age of twenty. So are you going to get it for the rest of your life?
The answer is yes – unfortunately!
What if we use something that is non-absorbable and get rid of this ordeal at once?
That is absolutely possible but brings along great risks. The most famous permanent lip augmentation material is medical-grade liquid silicone. It never gets absorbed. However, once injected, it is irreversible. You can’t say “I don’t like it. Rid me of it.” 70% of patients getting silicone injections in their lips may not have any issues but the remaining 30% have to deal with serious complications. Permanent materials may become infected at some point, resulting in potential infections. This is highly troublesome because you cannot use tweezers to remove a gel filler lining the tissues. For treatment, the lip is opened and these permanent fillers are cleaned thoroughly, leading to a permanent deformity in the relevant lip.
Are you scared?
Stay away from all kinds of permanent artificial lip fillers.
The only healthy exception to permanent lip augmentation is lip augmentation using your own tissues.
I will address this in a separate article.
Who Should Get Lip Augmentation?
Lip augmentation should be applied by physicians who have a full grasp of the anatomy and aesthetics of the lips, have a good command of the relationship between the lips and other facial structures, are equipped to manage possible complications and are experts in their specialty. Sounds like a cliché, right? Our girls, who get silicone injections on their lips at a hairdresser, already know this. If you ask them, everyone is an “expert” in their field, and everyone knows lip aesthetics and anatomy very well. So where did all these duck lips come from? If specialty in medicine was all about “declaration”, there would be no need to give a specialty certificate or diploma to anyone in return for the education they received. So take a good look at your doctor’s resume.
Who is Eligible for Lip Augmentation? Who is not?
First of all, anyone who wants it or anyone who can afford it is not eligible. The procedure is applied to persons whose lips “lack volume” in terms of the aesthetic balance of the face. It aims to normalize the shape and fullness of lips in individuals with subnormal lip fullness. Based on that, you can view and make sense of this procedure as a treatment. I do not give this to people who already have normal lip fullness just because they want fuller lips.
Lip augmentation should not be given to individuals who are obsessed with “full lips” or have a fragile body image. Likewise, it is wiser to give lip aesthetics training, not lip filler training, to those who demand a shape/size not ruled by the aesthetic ratios of lips.
Basic Aesthetic Principles in Lip Augmentation
- The upper lip should not be larger than the lower lip,
- The dark pink wet line of the lip should not be more prominent than the light pink dry line,
- The application should not erase the natural anatomical contours of the lips (Critical***),
- The application should never mask lip mimics.
- Following the procedure, people who do not know you should not understand that you have had lip augmentation.
- When you smile after the procedure, your gums should show a little and your smile should not evolve into an awkward one.
Lip Augmentation Process
We do lip augmentation under sterile conditions. Before the application, we mark the anatomical contours of your lips and create an application chart on them. Random injections into the lips are not permissible. You must decide before the procedure how much volume you want to give and where to give it. Just like surgery, it requires drawing and planning. You cannot change your decision during the application. This is because the moment the first needle touches the lip, the lip swells and the anatomical details become indistinct. It is not possible to find your way through and secure symmetry in an edematous lip.
After the planning and drawing stages, we apply a strong numbing cream on the lips. This cream relieves the pain sensation in the pink part of the lips. We start injections at this specific part. Modern fillers already contain local anesthetics. In other words, the injection site and its immediate surroundings grow numb immediately after the application. After striking a balance of volume between the upper and lower lips, I finally prefer to contour the lip frame. The process usually takes around 15-20 minutes.
In order to manage the anatomical details I mentioned above, I apply the lip filler with a needle rather than a cannula. Millimetric precision is not possible in applying fillers with a cannula. Crossing the length of the lip horizontally with a cannula can blur the anatomical details of the lip and cause a sausage lip appearance. However, I will not be a fanatic in the discussion between a needle and a cannula since it is possible to do anatomy-friendly lip augmentation with appropriate micro-cannulas.
Relationship Between Volume, Effect and Price in Lip Augmentation
The greater the volume applied in augmentation, the greater the final fullness is.
In simple terms, a milliliter produces a vague result that you can notice but those around you cannot do so easily. Your family and close friends may notice the difference in the lips when they look carefully.
Two milliliters, on the other hand, creates a change that your entourage can easily notice.
However, three milliliters will create a level of fullness that attracts attention at first glance and can be noticed even by people who don’t know you. I only apply this level of volume to people whose lips are really thin at the baseline.
An important detail you should know is that each milliliter of lip filler is a separate product and is charged additionally. In other words, there will be a price difference of almost 3 times between applying 1 ml and 3 ml.
In the patient group with a high volume requirement, the cost of lip augmentation can be very high in the long run. Therefore, it would be appropriate to provide patients who need a volume of around 2-3 ml according to the first evaluation with information on tissue transfer and permanent lip augmentation techniques.
Recovery After Lip Augmentation and Return to Social Life
In the first minutes after lip augmentation, the lips will swell significantly. If patients are not informed about this swelling in advance, it may frighten them and cause them to leave the clinic in tears. The swelling intensely persists for the first 48 hours and gradually disappears in the following two weeks. The volume in the two-week period following lip augmentation can be misleading. Thus, we decide at the end of this period whether we will make additional applications or not. For instance, we applied, say, 1 ml, and if you like the edematous appearance on the second day, you will probably want another 1 ml at the end of the second week when the edema is gone.
The best time for lip fillers is the Friday evening before the weekend break or the Saturday morning. After the early swelling is gone, you can gently put on some lipstick on Monday morning and go back to social life. It would not be a good idea to have the procedure and hastily hang out with friends only an hour later.
How are the Prices for Lip Augmentation Set?
Prices for lip augmentation vary according to the brand and quality of the filler used, the amount of filler used, the service standards of the clinic where the application is made, and the experience of the physician.
Risks and Complications
Lip augmentation poses some common risks as in all other filler procedures. Major risks include the leakage of the filler into the vessels, circulatory disorders in tissues and tissue losses. Although intravascular leakage and tissue loss are not satisfactorily reported in the literature, they occur roughly once in every 1000 to 2500 applications. Unfortunately, it is not a preventable complication. However, it is rare. If intravascular leakage is suspected during application, additional treatments may be required to dissolve the filler immediately. Additional treatments mean additional time and additional cost.
Another problem is an allergy or foreign body reaction developing against the filler. With HA fillers, this possibility is quite low, but it still exists. There can be an extremely annoying swelling on the lips. Inflammation of the filler is another complication. In that case, you may have to push everything aside and deal with the treatment of this inflammation for 1 to 2 weeks. In summary, lip augmentation is not a “beauty” application like those given to eyebrows, hair or nails. It is a medical procedure that also has risks and complications. Complications can happen to anyone at any time. It is useful to seek an answer to this specific question at the very beginning: “If I develop a complication, can my doctor take care of it?”
Limitations of Lip Augmentation
Last but not least, lip augmentation has some limitations. For instance, lip augmentation does not shorten the upper lip. It does not push out lips that roll inward. It does not change the horizontal dimensions of lips. It does not remove perioral sagging and upper perioral wrinkles. It does not correct smiling issues caused by teeth and gums. With lip fillers, you cannot have someone else’s lips. Getting lip augmentation for such intentions will result in utter disappointment.
Please feel free to contact us for more detailed information on lip augmentation and tailored planning.
Take good care…
… of yourself and your beauty.