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Lip Fillers

Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can give you fuller, plumper lips. These days, an injectable dermal filler is the most commonly used method of lip augmentation.

There are many types of dermal fillers that can be injected in your lips and around your mouth. But the most common fillers today are products that contain substances similar to hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body. It helps increase volume in your lips.

What it Is

A syringe needle injects a gel-like substance into the skin at various depths. A series of injections evenly disperse the filler. The filler substance fills up the area, resulting in improvements such as shape, volume, and structure.

What They Can Do

  • Restore the plump, sensuous look that is lost with age, and are long-lasting.

  • Add more balance to a person’s facial features.

​What They Can Not Do

 

  • For some patients, lip fillers may not be the best approach.

  • The results are reasonably long-lasting, but not permanent.

  • It is important to remember that dermal fillers are temporary treatments and that ongoing treatments will be needed for long-term results.

Types of Fillers

 

  • Artecoll is a synthetic material that plumps up the lips. Because it's synthetic, you are at higher risk of having an allergic reaction to it than if you got an injection of collagen or fat, but it lasts longer than either.

  • Autologen is an injection of your own collagen, extracted from another place on your body. There's no risk of an allergic reaction, however, the results are only temporary. This may be good for people who aren't ready to commit to a permanent result.

  • Collagen can be extracted from cows and injected into the lips. There's a risk of an allergic reaction, so it's best to have your surgeon give you a test dose before proceeding to the full dose. The results are temporary lasting four weeks to three months.

  • Dermalogen is collagen extracted from deceased human donors. This is also a temporary fix, but your body should not reject it.

  • Fascia injections use a specific type of connective tissue harvested either from your own body or from a deceased human donor. It can be implanted surgically or injected. The main drawback is that within a year of injection, your body will reabsorb the fascia.

  • Fat from your own thighs or abdomen can be injected into your lips. There's no risk of allergic reaction and you may achieve permanent results. This can also be implanted surgically (see below). If you gain weight, your lips may enlarge since the fat cells will get bigger.

  • Hylaform (most commonly used) is a material created from a natural body substance known as hyaluronic acid. There's no risk of infection, but you will need repeated treatments to maintain the result as it's only a temporary fix.

  • Restylane is a clear gel. It contains hyaluronic acid. It's biodegradable, so your body will absorb it within about six months of the injection.

All of these products are injected the same way and give you similar results. And some contain lidocaine, a local anesthetic.

Cost

The cost of lip augmentation varies depending on the:

 

  • Type of procedure performed

  • Doctor's experience

  • Where you live

Fillers are usually priced per syringe injected. The cost will depend on how much material is required. Most people don't need more than one to two syringes. Total costs range between $500 and $2,000.

 

Most health insurance plans won't cover cosmetic surgery or complications associated with cosmetic surgery. Before undergoing the procedure, make sure you understand all the charges and ask if your doctor offers a payment plan.

Potential Complications of Fillers

  • Acne-like skin eruptions

  • Asymmetry

  • Bruising, bleeding from the injection site, swelling

  • Damage to the skin that results in a wound and possible scarring

  • Infection at the injection site

  • Lumps

  • Palpability of the filler under the surface of the skin

  • Skin rash with itching

  • Skin redness

  • Under- or over-correction of wrinkles

  • Blindness

  • Skin necrosis (ulceration or loss of skin from disruption of blood flow)

Common Side Effects Include

  • Bruising

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Tenderness

  • Itching, rash

  • Difficulty in performing activities (only observed when injected into the back of the hand)
     

Less Common Side Effects Include

 

  • Raised bumps on or under the skin (nodules or granulomas) that may need to be surgically removed

  •  Infection

  • Open or draining wounds

  • A sore at the injection site

  • Allergic reaction

  • Necrosis (tissue death)

The Following Rare Side Effects Have Also Been Reported to the FDA:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) that requires immediate emergency medical assistance

  • Migration/ movement of filler material from the site of injection

  • Leakage or rupture of the filler material at the injection site or through the skin (which may result from tissue reaction or infection)

  • The formation of permanent hard nodules in the face or hand

  • Vision abnormalities, including blindness

  • Stroke

  • Injury to the blood supply

  • Damage to the skin or the lips

Recovery Expectations

  • An "overfilled" appearance to treated areas

  • Swelling or bruising ranging from mild to severe

  • Temporary numbness or redness

  • Palpable lumps or hard areas at the injection sites

  • Hypersensitivity reaction that can seem like an allergic reaction with hives and swelling