Lip Augmentation Risk, Requirement and Procedure

There are many ways to improve the appearance of your lips. What do we need to know about lip augmentation ?

Who are the best candidates for lip augmentation?

You must be in good general health. You might not a good candidate for lip augmentation if you have oral herpes, scarring, or certain diseases such as diabetes, lupus, connective tissues disorders, or blood clotting problems.

Like any other cosmetic surgery, lip augmentation requires a lot of responsibility. You can only determine for yourself if you’re ready. We’ve included the most popular injections and implants here; this information should serve as a general overview only and should not replace your doctor’s advice. Once you’ve selected a doctor, you will communicate with him or her and decide together which option best suits your needs.

Good candidates for lip augmentation are those who have realistic expectations of the outcome. Injections or implants can enhance and improve your natural look, but they’re not designed to create a radical change in your appearance.

As with any medical procedure, you should tell your doctor of any allergies or any medications that you are taking, and you will be required to discuss your medical history. Certain conditions or diseases can increase your chances of complications, such as blood clots, diabetes, or poor circulation. If you are a smoker, this may also be a complicating factor.

Injectable Fillers

These are performed on an outpatient basis in your doctor’s office or an outpatient center and you will be sent home the same day. Your surgeon may use local anesthesia to make you more comfortable during the injection of the filler. The local anesthetic (pain killer) may be topical (applied to the skin) or injected prior to the procedure.


What it is: Synthetic microbeads of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) suspended in partially denatured Bovine (cow) collagen.
Benefits: More staying power than standard collagen or fat injections.
Drawbacks: Some risk of allergic reaction, due to the use of partially denatured cow collagen.


What it is: This is your own collagen, extracted from your body and sent to a lab outside the hospital where it is processed into an injectable form.
Benefits: Because your own body made the collagen, there’s no risk of an allergic reaction to it. However, the effects are temporary, as your body will slowly reabsorb the collagen.
Drawbacks: It requires a surgical procedure to extract the tissue to be sent for processing and a second appointment at a later date for the injection.

Bovine Collagen

What it is: This version of collagen is extracted from cows.
Drawbacks: It’s a temporary fix, and can last from as little as four weeks to three months. Use of this product is good if you just want to get an idea of what lip augmentation might be like without having to make a more permanent decision. There is also a risk of allergic reaction. Your surgeon will give you a test dose to check for allergies before treatment can begin.


What it is: This material is extracted from deceased human donors. It’s also called injectable Human Tissue Matrix.
Drawbacks: This is also a temporary fix, but your body should not reject it.


What it is: This is tissue that is created from a molecular component of the human body.
Drawbacks: Hylaform is only a temporary fix and repeat treatments are needed.


What it is: This is a clear gel used to increase volume in the lips. It contains hyaluronic acid (a complex sugar naturally found in the body), so there’s little chance for an allergic reaction.
Drawbacks: It’s biodegradable, so your body will absorb it within about six months of the injection.


What it is: Smooth long lasting dermal gel filler. Like Restylane, Juvaderm is also made of hyaluronic acid.
Benefits: Biosynthetic with little chance of allergic reaction.
Drawbacks: Temporary: Lasts six months to one year.

Implants and Surgeries

You will most likely receive local anesthesia. A procedure can take up to two hours at your doctor’s office or outpatient center, depending on the complexity, and you will be sent home the same day.


What it is: This material is a collagen sheet created from deceased humans. Your surgeon will insert these through tiny incisions made on the inside part of the lip. This material offers a temporary fix, lasting up to 12 months.


What it is: Fascia (aka white connective tissue) may be obtained from deceased humans or from your own body and implanted surgically.
Benefits: Your own tissue. Can be relatively long lasting.
Drawbacks: Within about one year of the procedure, your body will reabsorb the fascia.

Fat Injection

What it is: This comes from you, too. Your surgeon will usually obtain this from your thighs or abdomen.
Benefits: Again, like Autologen, there is no risk of allergic reaction because it’s from you.
Drawback: Requires a surgical procedure to obtain the fat for injection.

Fat grafting

What it is: This is the surgical method of inserting your own fat into your lips to achieve the desired fullness.
Benefits: Because it’s your own fat, there is into chance of a reaction.
Drawback: Although there is a chance that some of the fat will stay permanently that amount of survival is very unpredictable and the procedure may need to be repeated more than once for the desired effect.

Gore-Tex, SoftForm and soft ePTFE

What it is: These are white, microporous implants made from the same type of material as Gore-Tex boots and raincoats, but of course a sterile medical grade. ePTFE is a non-reactive, non-toxic polymer that has been used in medical implants throughout the body without ill effects for many, many years.
Benefits: Results are permanent unless the graft is removed.

Local flap grafts

What it is: This takes a flap of tissue from the inside of your mouth. It requires a longer incision and sutures inside the mouth.

How long will my recovery take?

Your recovery will depend on your lifestyle and which procedure you undergo. Most people having injections are fine within a day or two. There might be bruising or swelling however that can last as long as two weeks depending on the type of injection. If you are having surgical implants or grafts, you should plan on it taking two weeks before you will feel comfortable in public. As with any procedure it is recommended that you stop aspirin or any type of blood thinner two weeks prior to treatment to help minimize bruising and swelling.

It’s important that you know yourself. Discuss how much time you think you’ll need for recovery with your doctor. It may be necessary to take some time off work. You also may not be able to exercise for a few days to a few weeks depending on the type of procedure.

How to prepare

It’s important that you have someone with you who can drive you home from the operation. If you are a smoker, you may be required to stop smoking for a period of time before and after the procedure. You should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully on this. Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing. Be especially mindful of the shirt or blouse you choose to wear that day — it should be a button down, if possible, so you do not have to pull it over your face.

Before your procedure, establish a home recovery area with the following:
Comfortable pillows on which you can prop yourself
Ointment or cream if recommended by your doctor
Plenty of soft foods, such as jello, pudding, oatmeal and yogurt that do not require chewing
Telephone within reaching distance of your recovery area

Risks and complications

As with any surgery, there are risks and complications. You can experience bleeding that might require going back to surgery to stop the bleeding. There is also a risk of infection that may require antibiotics or implant removal. It’s very important that you discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to surgery and that you make your doctor aware of any existing medical conditions that may cause further complications.

Call your doctor immediately if you:
Experience extreme swelling associated with pain and pressure
Develop a fever

Does insurance cover lip augmentation?

Insurance may cover lip augmentation if the procedure is being completed for reconstructive purposes, such as a congenital defect or as reconstruction after an injury or accident. If you are undergoing this procedure purely for cosmetic purposes, you will be responsible for the cost. Make sure you understand all of your doctor’s charges, including anesthesia, follow-up care, etc. Make sure to obtain an estimate of the charges beforehand and work out a payment plan if necessary.

It’s also very important that you realize elective cosmetic surgery may impact your current insurance. Your carrier can increase your premiums and it can affect future coverage. Make sure you ask your insurance carrier about its policy on elective, cosmetic surgery so you’re not surprised in the future.

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