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Surgical vs Non-Surgical Lip Augmentation

The influence of such popular social media and entertainment celebrities (like the Kardashians) has been a major reason for the increase in lip augmentation. We see many patients coming in asking for lip injections to look like their favorite star. It’s not that these stars created a new beauty standard. Voluminous lips have always been considered a sign of beauty throughout history.

It’s just that the celebrities—through social media—has refocused attention on this facial attribute. Full lips are a sign of sensuality and beauty. While there are no strict rules for what a beautiful lip should look like, most agree that there are certain characteristics of a beautiful lip. One, the lower lip volume should be a bit larger than the upper. Some say the ratio of upper to lower lip volume should be about 1 : 1.3-1.5.

In addition, the upper lip vermilion border should have a very subtle or slight ski slope to it from the side view. You should bear in mind that these are just guidelines. Some women want fuller upper lips. Others like equal volume lips. You can look at various beautiful models and notice that not every one of them has the same shape and volume.

Minimally invasive cosmetic treatments such as injectable fillers are the most popular treatments in the cosmetic industry. Lip fillers are very popular. These can be done in the clinic. When done properly, these are very safe with low risks of complications. Most doctors use hyaluronic acid fillers because of the ease of injection and the ability to dissolve it. In past, some used silicone injections in the lips.

There is a very small room for error when injecting permanent products because once they’re in the lip, it’s almost impossible to remove them. The biggest disadvantage of injectables is they don’t last. Surgical lip augmentation offers a more permanent solution.

Factors to Consider

Lip fillers offer the advantage of same day treatment with immediate results. Now, you may likely experience some bruising and swelling afterwards, but the results are very good. Most last around six to nine months. Despite the manufacturers’ advertisement that these can last a year, I’ve found these fillers to go away sooner. I believe it’s because the mouth is very active muscular structure.

You are almost constantly moving your mouth (ie. When you’re eating, drinking, talking, laughing etc). Juvederm Volbella, a relatively new hyaluronic acid filler from Allergan, uses their new cross linking technology to create a filler that lasts much longer. Allergan claims these will last about two years.

The major disadvantage of lip fillers is its duration. Lip fillers just don’t last as long as you may like. Very rare risks of lip necrosis from embolization can also be a factor that make you apprehensive. The limited duration of lip fillers is one reason why some may be interested in a more permanent lip augmentation treatment. Surgical lip augmentation is one option to permanently increase your lip volume. If permanent result is critical for you, then surgical lip augmentation may be a good option.

Surgical lip augmentation involves placing an implant into your upper and/ or lower lips via small stab incisions on the corners of the mouth. A tunnel is created in the proper plan and then the implant is passed into the lip. The lip augmentation can be very good. One disadvantage of these implants is less ability to fine tune certain deformities.

With fillers, one can target specific areas of volume loss, whereas an implant achieves enlargement due to its physical shape and size. Surgical lip augmentation can be done in the clinic under local anesthesia. Another nice feature of surgical implantation is we can always remove the implant if 1) you’re not happy, or 2) in the future when you may decide you no longer want on. Because it’s surgery, surgical lip augmentation needs to be scheduled into a specific appointment. Fillers can be done on the same day visit, but it’s unlikely you can get surgical lip implant at the same visit.

Regardless of whether you select non-surgical lip augmentation with lips vs. surgical lip augmentation, the procedure requires great attention to detail. Women can be very particular with how their lips look and their eyes are very keen. Injection technique and good eye are both important factors in achieving success. I find that constant communication with the patient during treatment is important in getting a good result.

With injections, it’s not a bad idea to have you come back in a week or two in order to reassess the lip after the swelling and bruising has gone away. At that time, further touch up can be done with either more filler or focal injections with hyaluronidase (to dissolve lumps that don’t go away).

In summary, the main question to answer regarding surgical vs. non surgical lip augmentation is how important permanence is to you. In my opinion, wanting permanent lip fullness is the only reason to consider surgical lip augmentation.

For more information about lip filler injections in San Antonio, TX,  schedule a consultation, or contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868.