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Lip augmentation / reduction

What is the Lip augmentation / reduction?

Lip augmentation falls into two basic categories - implants and injectables - but laser lip augmentation may also be an option for some people. It is a procedure that uses synthetic or biological products or surgical restructuring to enhance the lips. Lip enhancement can be achieved by many procedures. Lips may be injected with collagen or with fat transferred from another site in the patient's body. Both liquid collagen and fat are absorbed and repeat treatments are necessary to maintain results; longer-lasting options include implantable materials. Further options include:

- autologen - injectable dermal implant material made from the patient's own skin;

- dermalogen - injectable human tissue matrix procured from donor tissue;

- fascia - injectable donor tissue made from the dense white connective tissue that supports body structure. Can also be done as a surgical implant;

- hylaform - a crystal-clear injectable gel; the hyaluronic acid in hylaform is similar to that naturally found in the body;

- radiance - calcium hydroxylapatite;

- restylane - crystal-clear injectable gel; the hyaluronic acid in restylane is very close to that naturally found in the body.

Another augmentation choice is laser lip rejuvenation, which tightens the natural collagen and elastic tissue beneath the lips.

Overly large lips can be a detraction from the overall facial harmony and beauty. The main reason why people want to reduce the size of their lips are either because they were born with lips that were too full, or they have had their lips injected with a permanent filler and now their lips are too large or asymmetric. Other reasons why people request lip reduction surgery are lips that are asymmetric or when the upper lip is much larger than the lower lip, or when the lips have been so filled with permanent material that there is no contour or subtleties that reflect a natural lip line.

What is the procedure?

A natural or synthetic biocompatible material, or the patient's own fat, is injected or implanted in the lips. One injection is usually sufficient to produce the desired result, which may be temporary, depending on the material used. Injections may need to be repeated periodically. Proper placement of the injected material is important.

Lip reduction is an office procedure used to reduce the size of overly large – protruding lips. This is accomplished by removing a small amount of tissue inside the mouth and suturing with dissolvable sutures to achieve permanent results.

What kind of result can you expect?

Lip augmentation creates fuller, plumper lips and reduces fine wrinkles around the mouth.

The lips after lip reduction surgery will appear slightly too large for a few weeks until all swelling has dissipated. The deforming swelling resolves over several days.

Recovery period and recommendations

Patient should expect to be swollen, tender and very full-lipped postoperatively. There also may be difficulty drinking or eating without spilling. There will be pain, especially if pressure is applied to the lips. Patient may feel numb in the lips for several days while swelling puts pressure on the nerves in the lips. Pain relievers prescribed by your doctor should alleviate any discomfort.

Your sutures (if they are not dissolvable) will be removed in about 7 to 10 days.

To make your recovery as comfortable as possible, make sure you have ice packs, comfortable pillows and soft foods that do not require chewing available.

Possible side effects and complications

Allergic reactions can range from prolonged redness, swelling or itching, to firmness at the injection site. Other possible complications include bleeding, lip asymmetry, and migration and extrusion of the implant. Normal swelling and bruising lasts from three days to a week.

Patients with a reaction to the pre-treatment collagen skin test; who have a serious allergy history; or are allergic to lidocaine (a local anesthetic) should not consider lip augmentation. Treatment is sometimes postponed for patients with active inflammatory skin conditions or with infections.

Collagen injections have a short-lived effect (9-12 weeks); fat injections provide longer-lasting results, but are sometimes unpredictable as to the degree of improvement, can have lumping or scarring effects, and must be harvested from another part of the body.

Soft-form is a foreign body and may become infected or be rejected.

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