In women with very thin lips, particularly in the vertical dimension, injectable dermal fillers only increase the volume of the lip. This is sometimes referred to as a “duck bill appearance.” Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Todd Hobgood offers lip vermilion advancement to give people from the Scottsdale-Phoenix area fuller, very natural-looking lips. Additional benefits include reducing thin wrinkles around the lips and shortening the skin above the upper lip improving facial geometry.
How does the aging process affect the lips?
For most of us, the lips are affected the natural aging process. These changes are the result of a gradual decline in the amount of soft tissue around the lips combined with damage from aging, sun exposure, and repetitive movements. Patients may find that the lips lack the definition and height they once had. Bothersome vertical lines, sometimes called lipstick lines or smoker’s lines, often develop above and below the lips due to soft tissue thinning, skin changes, and repetitive movement (such as sipping through a straw). Because of these changes, many people are interested in restoring a more youthful, natural look.
What options are available for lip enhancement?
Dr. Hobgood offers both surgical and nonsurgical options for lip enhancement.
There are a variety of soft tissue fillers such as JUVÉDERM® Ultra XC that may be injected into the lips to correct changes due to aging. Precise placement can enhance the border of the lip and provide a gentle lift to key locations for natural-looking enhancement. Fillers are very effective in camouflaging mild vertical lines around the lips. Dr. Hobgood and his experienced aesthetic nurse Annie perform lip injections right in the office; most fillers contain anesthetic for enhanced comfort.
People who are bothered by very thin lips often choose surgical lip advancement. This procedure involves making a precise incision along the lip vermilion (outer border of the lip), removing a strip of skin above the lip, moving the vermilion upward and outward, and suturing it in place. This procedure is performed after the lips are numbed. Stitches are removed after about 5 days. The small incision line heals quite well along the length of the lip. Most patients are cleared to reapply lipstick after 7 to 10 days.
Is BOTOX® Cosmetic helpful for lip enhancement?
BOTOX Cosmetic injections can 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, Dr. Hobgood may recommend injecting a very small, precise amount of BOTOX into the skin above the upper lip or the chin area. The effects typically last 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 2 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).