In women with very thin lips, particulary in the vertical dimension, fillers only increase the outward movement of the lip. This is sometimes referred to as a “duck bill appearance.”
The upper lip can be advanced to achieve a very natural and fuller lip. Two benefits include removing the thin wrinkles around the lip and shortening the white lip improving facial geometry.
What changes occur in the lips during the aging process?
All patients experience alterations in the lips during the aging process. These changes are the result of a gradual decline in the amount of soft tissue around lips combined with skin damage from aging, sun exposure and repetitive movements. Patients may find that the lips lack the definition and height that they once had. Bothersome vertical wrinkles often appear above and below the lips due to soft tissue thinning and skin changes. These patients are interested in options that may provide a more youthful, natural look.
What options are available to enhance the lips?
There are a variety of Soft Tissue Fillers that may be placed into the lips to reverse the aging changes. Precise placement can enhance the border of the lip and provide a gentle lift to key locations to produce a natural improvement. These are very effective in camouflaging mild vertical wrinkles at the lip margin. Types of fillers that may be recommended by your physician include Hyaluronic Acid Products. These are placed in the office usually after freezing the nerves to the lip area.
Permanent implants are available for more severe aging changes. Permalip™ is a very safe and effective implant that provides bulk to the body of the lip. It will remain in the lip permanently and does not need to be repeated. This procedure is completed after freezing the nerves to the lip or under a brief general anesthetic. This implant may be palpable in the lip after the surgery but does not interfere with speaking, drinking, smiling, kissing, etc. Most patients become quite comfortable with the implants after a brief healing period. In the most severe cases of lip atrophy, your doctor may also recommend a Lip Advancement.
Some patients have a very thin lip lacking height and your doctor may recommend a lip advancement. This procedure involves making a precise incision along the lip border and advancing the pink lip up over the white lip. This procedure is performed after freezing the nerves to the lips or under a brief anesthetic, and requires stitches that are removed on day 5. The small incision line heals quite well along the length of the lip. Most patients are cleared to reapply lipstick after 7-10 days.
Is Botox™ helpful for the lips?
Botox™ can be injected by your physician to decrease muscular movement and reduce wrinkling of the overlying skin. For this reason, caution must be used around the lips to prevent difficulties with speaking, smiling and eating. In specific cases, your physician may recommend a very precise and small amount of Botox™ be placed into the white upper lip or chin area. The effects should persist for 3 to 4 months.
How do I choose my surgeon?
Lip enhancement with injectable fillers is an extremely precise and “operator dependent” procedure. Augmentation with implants and surgical lifts require experience. Be sure that your doctor is knowledgeable about the various FDA approved fillers and alternative procedures as well. This will allow you to make the most educated decision for your specific lip type. No two patients are identical and a variety of approaches are commonly employed in a single patient. Also be sure that your surgeon is board certified and a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The surgery center should also be accredited by AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care).