Different types of lip augmentation
Lip fillers are perhaps the most common type of lip augmentation used. Similar to other dermal fillers, lip fillers are usually made from hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a substance naturally produced by our body in the skin. HA directly provides structure, while also stimulating collagen and elastin production, providing immediate results that will also improve over a few weeks. Also, as HA is a naturally occurring substance in the skin, lip fillers almost never have adverse side effects. Moreover, if the results are unsatisfactory, HA-based lip fillers can easily by broken down with an injection of hyaluronidase, essentially reverting the results with minimal side effects. On the other hand, lip fillers do not produce long term results because HA can be naturally broken down in the skin. A typical lip filler procedure using HA lasts around 6 to 12 months, depending on the individual, after which a top-up session is needed to maintain the effects.
Another common method of lip augmentation is fat transfer. In this case, small amounts of fat are extracted from areas with excess (usually the abdomen, buttocks or thighs), purified and injected into the lips like HA fillers. Because of this, fat transfer can be carried out together with liposuction if desired. Lip augmentation via fat transfer usually have little to no side effects, as the fat is taken from the patient himself/herself.
The results of fat transfer usually last for about 5 years as body tissue are harder to break down compared to HA. In certain cases, the results can last permanently.
Procedure of lip augmentation
Firstly, the patient will discuss the doctor/surgeon their expectations during a consultation session. The doctor/surgeon will analyse the patient’s facial features and provide recommendations based on expectations.
Topical or local anaesthesia is administered as required before the chosen type of lip augmentation is performed. All lip augmentation procedure should not take more than an hour, including consultation sessions.
Possible risks and complications
All types of lip augmentation procedures are relatively safe with minimal risks. Complications, although rare, are still possible especially in unskilled and inexperienced hands. Some of these may include:
- Infection and inflammation
- Injection of filler/fat into blood vessels, clogging them and leading to necrosis
- Spreading of fillers into undesired places
- Damage of nerves, leading to temporary or permanent numbness/loss of sensation
Most of these can be avoided with good technique and post-care. Hence, it is important to consult a skilled and experienced doctor/surgeon for your lip augmentation procedure.