Updated August 6, 2019
Lip Enhancement – Fort Worth, Texas
Lip augmentation is a procedure designed to improve the overall appearance and shape of the upper and lower lips. Some individuals are blessed with lip fullness that provides an adequate portion of vermilion (the pink part of the lips). This allows for an easier application of lipstick or coloring. This amount of aesthetically pleasing vermilion show is not present in everyone. It is even difficult for some individuals to apply lipstick because of the lip deficiency. Lip augmentation can be performed to provide fullness and pout to the central part of the lip.
It is evident with aging that there is some decrease in fullness of the lips, resulting in less pout and an increase in the fine wrinkles of the upper and lower lips. There are procedures (CO2 laser and peels) that have shown improvement of the wrinkles of the lips. Lip augmentation can also improve a minimal amount of wrinkles and at the same time enhance the fullness of the lips.
There are currently several methods utilized to augment the lips. Temporary fillers such as Juvederm® can be used to augment the lips. The material is broken down after about 1 year. Fat injection has been used for “permanent” augmentation, but the results are variable and there is some loss of the tissue after 1 year. Gortex and silicone are permanent implants and will not shrink over time. Alloderm (dermal graft) can also be used as a graft that will eventually incorporate into your body’s tissue. It is cadaver tissue that has been treated to remove any of the proteins that could result in a reaction. This material is also long lasting, but a small amount will resorb (dissolve) over time. The results have been very favorable with this material.
What kind of anesthesia will I have?
Fillers are injected in the office with local anesthesia. Lip augmentation using an implant is performed under local anesthesia at the surgery center and usually requires approximately 40 minutes for one lip. Sedation can be provided for comfort and you can be expected to return home the same day if no other procedures are performed.
Where will my incisions be?
Fillers are injected using a small needle in the office. Augmentation is performed using an incision along both corners of the mouth to allow introduction of the material into the lip. The incisions are very small (1/8 of an inch) and usually are not even apparent after the procedure is performed. You should expect a scar in front of each corner of the mouth, within the red portion of the lip. The scars are placed in natural skin creases and will fade with time. This usually takes less than 3 months.
How long is the surgery?
The operating time will vary depending on your specific procedure and whether one or both lips are augmented. Generally the time is approximately 1 hour for both lips. If additional procedures are performed, the surgery time is longer.
What are the risks?
Scars of the lip usually heal so well that they are usually imperceptible, but it is important to remember that all scars are permanent. The width, height and color of scars are unpredictable. As with any surgical procedure, small sensory nerves to the skin surface may be cut when the incision is made or when skin is undermined. Portions of your lip will feel numb or have less than full feeling. The sensibility in these areas gradually returns, usually with 2 to 3 months as the nerve endings spontaneously heal. During the healing process the skin of the lip may become hypersensitive for a period of time. Some diminished sensibility may last indefinitely.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Prior to any procedure, it is necessary to review medications you are taking that may affect your surgery. You may be asked to stop or to adjust some medications you are on. As always, it is important to include supplements on your list of medications. Aspirin and aspirin products (Alka-Seltzer, Carisoprodol, Excedrin, Goody’s, Midol), anti-inflammatory medications (except acetaminophen, or Tylenol), and herbal supplements must be avoided for 10 days prior to your surgery. For more details about which medications and supplements to avoid, click here. Dr. Kirby will discuss your medications with you.
Depending on your medical condition, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical checkup prior to your surgery.
Tobacco products impair your body’s ability to heal. You will be asked to stop smoking for 6 weeks prior to any surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm continue to provide your body with tobacco and must be stopped as well. Please ask Dr. Kirby if you will need assistance with quitting.
Be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgery. You will need someone to stay with you the night following your surgery as well.
You will receive specific instructions for your surgery day from Dr. Kirby’s office.
What is my recovery from surgery like?
No dressings are necessary. Antibiotic ointment will be applied to the entire lip and over the stitches. Ice packs are not necessary. There is usually a moderate amount of swelling and very little if any bruising. You should try to sleep with your head elevated to help reduce the amount of swelling. Your lips usually feels somewhat firm immediately after the procedure, but will soften with time. During the first 1 to 2 weeks your lips will feel and look swollen. The swelling will start to subside after the first postoperative week. It may take as long as 2 months for the last bit of swelling to recede.
You may bathe the day after surgery. The antibiotic ointment should be applied twice a day for one full week. Be sure to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or greater when outside to protect the scars from sunlight during the healing process.
Initial discomfort is controlled with oral pain medication. Stitches are dissolvable and should be gone after one week. You should avoid eating items that are hard or that have rough or sharp edges (like Doritos). You should be extremely careful about placing items in your mouth, as your lips will initially be numb and you may not be able to identify injury or burn to your lips.