Historically many cultures consider fuller lips a sign of fertility. Today they are a symbol of sexual vitality, youth and health. In some people thinner lips can be a family trait. Also, most people with age develop thinner lips, and the corners of the mouth drop giving a sad appearance to the face. Lip augmentation creates fuller, plumper lips and reduces fine wrinkles around the mouth. There are a number of minimally invasive treatments and surgical options available to enhance the volume and shape of the lips.
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Temporary FillersToday the most common techniques for lip augmentation involve placement of fillers. Collagen products such as CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast, hyaluronic acid products like Restylane and Hylaform, and fat are some of the examples of temporary fillers. Filler techniques for lip augmentation are performed in the office under topical (ice or numbing cream) anesthesia or local anesthesia (small injections to numb the lips). The recovery is quite brief and, depending on the product used, the longevity of the results is typically 3 to 4 months.
Surgical ImplantsA more dramatic degree of lip augmentation can be achieved by surgically placing implants. These implants typically last longer than fillers. The most common lip implants are Alloderm and Gore-Tex (also known as Softform or Advanta) implants. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia or using IV sedation. Patients usually require a few days of recovery because there will be moderate amount of lip swelling for the first 2-3 days.
Alloderm implantAlloderm is made from human collagen, thus it has a soft and natural feel, making it a suitable implant for lips. It has been used as an implant on the face with great success for many years. The results are generally long-lasting, although some of the initial volume will be lost over the first 6 to 8 months.
Gore-Tex implantGore-Tex (or ePTFE) is a synthetic implant that has been used in the face and body for many years. The main advantage is that it does not get absorbed over time and the results are permanent. Gore-Tex lip implants are also marketed as Softform or Advanta.