What is lip augmentation?

Lip augmentation is the process of increasing the volume of your lips to give them a fuller appearance. Sufficiently plump lips are considered to be attractive to many individuals, and lip augmentation can help these people achieve just that.

Different types of lip augmentation

Lip Fillers

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.

Fat Transfer

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.

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FAQ

What are the differences between the types of lip augmentation?

Type of Lip AugmentationLip FillersFat TransferTissue GraftLip Implants
Length of procedureNo more than 1 hour
Longevity6 - 12 monthsAbout 5 yearsAbout 5 yearsPermanent
InvasivenessVery lowLowModerateModerate
Reversible?YesYesDifficultDifficult
CostLowestModerateModerateHighest
Risk of side effects/ complicationsVery lowLowLowLow

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure usually takes no more than an hour, including the consultation time if performed alone. If coupled with other plastic surgery procedures (like liposuction), it may take longer depending on the other procedure

Is the procedure painful?

Topical (numbing cream) or local anaesthesia will be administered before the procedure as required to reduce pain and discomfort. You will most likely only feel the prick of the injections.

Is there any downtime?

There is typically no downtime for lip augmentation procedures. Patients are able to return to daily activities immediately after the procedure. However, the injection/incision site may bruise or swell slightly, but these will usually subside in a few days.

What should I take note of before the procedure?

Be sure to convey your expectations clearly to the doctor during the consultation session in order to him to perform the procedure accurately and produce the best results.

Please inform the doctor/surgeon of any medication and/or supplements you are currently on.

Unless you are considering only HA fillers, you may be asked to stop certain drugs like blood thinners
before the procedure to reduce the risk of complications.

What should I take note of after the procedure?

Avoid consuming spicy/irritating foods for a few days to facilitate the healing process, especially if incisions are involved. Also, avoid pressing/putting excessive force on the lips to reduce the changes of deformation.