Lip augmentation or lip enhancement includes a variety of procedures that can add fullness to thin lips, decrease wrinkles around the mouth, and improve lip contour to create better harmony between the lips and the other facial features. Options for lip enhancement include fat injections, lip filler injections, dermal grafting, vermillion advancement, lip implants, and lip lifting.
Lip fillers, grafts, and implants can physically change the volume of a patient’s lips, while lip lifts and vermillion advancement can alter the shape and increase the width of a patient’s lips.
Lip injections using natural or synthetic fillers can keep a patient’s lips plump for months at a time. Lip implants and other surgical procedures offer a more permanent solution. Other options include lip lifts, vermilion (lip) advancement, and permanent makeup.
Expected Results with Lip Augmentation
- Fuller and more plump lips in those desiring a more pouty look
- Subtle enhancement of lips in patients with thin lips desiring a conservative approach
- Diminished appearance of vertical lip lines
- Correction of lip asymmetries
- More balanced upper to lower lip volume
Ideal Candidate for Lip Enhancement
A good candidate for lip enhancement:
- Has thin lips that essentially disappear when they smile
- May already have full lips but desires more volume
- Has a “gummy smile,” upper gum show when they smile
- Wants to improve any lip asymmetries or imbalances between upper and lower lip
Lip Augmentation Techniques
Dermal Filler Injections
Dermal filler injections are the most commonly utilized procedure to increase lip volume, diminish appearance of lip lines, as well as correct any imbalances to the lips. Hyaluronic acid fillers the the only FDA approved filler type for lip injections. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally in the body, thus it is extremely rare for someone to experience an allergic reaction or for their body to reject the filler. The most commonly used dermal fillers used for lip injections includes Restylane®, Juvederm® Ultra, Juvederm® Ultra Plus and Juvederm® Volbella.
What types of lips are possible with lip augmentation?
Subtle lip augmentation for thin lips
Dramatic augmentation of thin lips (many weeks to months to achieve)
Cupid’s bow creation
Improved upper and lower proportionality and balance
Even out and balance asymmetries
Increased lip protrusion
Diminished appearance of “gummy smile”
How many syringes do I need for lip injections?
Most people need 1 syringe of filler to achieve the noticeable results. If there is extra filler left in the syringes sometimes your physician will recommend putting the unused amount of filler in other parts of the face.
Which lip filler is the best for lip augmentation?
Although all the dermal fillers are hyaluronic acid based, they vary in their consistency and texture. After a discussion with your physician it is best to use their guidance on what is the best filler to use based on the results you are trying to achieve. In general Restylane® and Juvederm® Volbella are better for more subtle lip augmentation, and Juvederm® Ultra and Juvederm® Ultra Plus are better at achieving more dramatic and pouty lips.
How often do lip injections need to be repeated?
Most patients find that they need repeat lip injections around every 6 months. Some patients metabolize the fillers quicker and may need to come in sooner than that and some patients find that they can go one year without a repeat injection. Additionally, less filler may be needed for maintenance than was originally injected. Just the action of getting injections to the lips stimulates the body to produce collagen in that area and promotes increased lip volume.
Do lip injections hurt?
Yes, lip injections do hurt. At The Naderi Center, we can significantly reduce pain with lip injections by application of a strong topical numbing cream 20-30 minutes prior to your injection that helps significantly with pain. Additionally, all the fillers that we utilize have a local anesthetic, known as lidocaine, pre-mixed with the fillers to help numb the injection area. Patients will notice that as more filler is injected into the lips, they are less likely to feel the pain. Finally, who is doing your lip injections makes huge difference. Some providers have a gentler injection technique which really decreases amount of discomfort felt.
Fat Injections/Transfer to the Lips
Fat grafting or fat injections to the lips involves removing fat from a patient’s own body and then injecting it into the lips. Fat is first lipo-suctioned, usually from the abdomen or the inner thighs, then cleaned and purified before being injected into the lips. The goal of fat transfer is to provide a more long-term solution to lip augmentation.
Patients can expect mild discomfort and swelling for 1-3 days after the procedure. Unlike an artificial implant, using a patient’s own fat tissue eliminates the risk of bodily rejection. Patients should expect immediate results and requires only a few days to recover in most cases. Injections may need to be repeated until the desired result is attained.
This procedure involves an incision made along the border of the colored portion of the lips, followed by the removal of a strip of skin outside the border. The surgeon then pulls the colored portion of the lip forward to increase the lip area.
Lip Implants/Permalip™ Implant
Lip implants can be inserted through tiny incisions located inside the corners of the mouth. There are many natural or synthetic implant options available. This is a permanent augmentation option which can be reversed only through removal of the lip implant.
Lip Lift Surgery
Lip lift surgery is an in-office procedure that shortens the distance between the lips and the bottom of the nose and consequently results in more upper lip showing. An incision is made under the nose and the skin is shortened, pulling up the lips. Other lift techniques can shorten the upper lip to expose more teeth. A downward-turned mouth can be lifted with small upward sutures removed in four to five days.
Pricing for Lip Injections
Before and After Lip Augmentation Photos
Preparing for Lip Injections
Proper dermal filler preparation is important when it comes to minimizing recovery and increasing safety of injections. Prior to your appointment, it is important to be off of certain supplements and medications as well as to minimize consumption of certain foods that are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6. All of our patients are advised to view our list of “Things to Avoid” prior to injections or surgery.
2 Weeks Before Injections
Follow our dietary restrictions.
- For 2 weeks before your appointment avoid nuts, seeds, fish, fish oil, NSAIDs, supplements, and anything that prolongs bleeding. This will significantly help minimize bruising, bleeding, and swelling after your injections. Read our Guidelines on Foods and Medications to Avoid Prior to Injections.
- You can start Arnica supplements a week prior to injection to help with post injection bruises. Arnica helps to speed up the fading away of bruises. Arnica supplements can be found in most health supplement isles at your Whole Foods, GMC or CVS, as well as purchased from The Naderi Center.
Stopping Medications and Supplements
- Talk to your primary care doctor or physician specialist. If you are on blood thinners you may need to stop these a few days to weeks prior to your injection treatment. Speak to your prescribing physician regarding if it is safe to stop these medications as well as to obtain instructions about when to stop and restart the medication. We do not recommend patients that are on life saving medications stop their medications in order to have any cosmetic procedures performed.
Prevention of Cold Sores
- Patients prone to cold sores will need to start a prophylaxis dose of an anti-viral medication prior to their injection treatment. Your physician provider will prescribe this medication prior to your treatment.
Familiarize yourself with Risks and Benefits
- Read our filler consent prior to your visit to familiarize yourself with risks and benefits of filler injections.
Day of Injection
Eat and drink before your treatment
- It is not uncommon for patients to “pass-out” or get “vasovagal” during their injection. Most people are not fond of needles. Having a good blood sugar and being hydrated will make it less likely that you will feel queasy during your treatment.
Minimize make up and lotions
- Please minimize make-up, especially in and around areas where you would like to get injections performed. Our medical assistants will have to remove your make-up prior to the procedure. You can bring make up with you and apply it immediately after your treatment.
Come in 30 minutes prior to appointment time for numbing
- We recommend numbing cream application prior to dermal filler injections. The numbing cream needs a good 20 – 30 minutes to exert its full effect, hence we ask all our filler injection patients to come a little earlier to allow for the numbing time.
Reserve your next appointment
- We love our loyal patients and making sure that we can see you when you need your next injection is important to us. Most of our physicians book out 3 – 4 months and we prefer to never double book patients. We always recommend that you schedule your next appointment before leaving. Lip injections usually need to be repeated every six months or sometimes slightly sooner.
Recovery after Lip Injections
After your filler injection it is normal to have some swelling, pinpoint bleeding, and bruising. If numbing cream was applied for your procedure you will still feel numb for another 1-2 hours after your procedure. Please be sure to follow our post procedure instructions in order to minimize swelling, bruising, and decrease downtime.
Swelling of the lips is common after augmentation. Consequently, for at least three days, a patient’s lips will appear larger than their final result. Bruising can occur after lip injections, generally resolving in one week. Lips typically feel tender for the first few days post-injection, but will feel natural and normal after the initial swelling and bruising resolves.
Ice, Ice, Ice
- Use a small bag of frozen peas in a sandwich bag or crushed ice to gently ice the area. No heavy ice bags. Ice for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Continue the icing for 48 hours if possible.
Minimize Strenuous Exercise
- We recommend no strenuous exercise for 48 hours in order to reduce swelling and bruising.
Do not manipulate, massage, rub, or poke the area.
- Unless specifically advised by your physician, do not massage or manipulate your face. For one week, avoid facials or rough scrubbing of the face. You can wash your face gently.
Use make-up to cover any bruises
- You can use makeup the day of your injections to cover up any bruising. A darker shade lipstick is often a good way to cover up any bruises for the first few days.
Take Arnica supplements
- Arnica supplements can quickly help reduce appearance of bruises.
Eat pineapples and drink pineapple juice
- Pineapples have natural anti-inflammatory properties that help to minimize swelling after injections.
Do not over-evaluate your lips the first two weeks
- The first two weeks after lip injections it is normal to have bruises, swelling, and in some cases, an asymmetric appearance. We recommend waiting two weeks for swelling and bruising to be completely gone before you can appreciate your final results.
Take Tylenol for Pain
- It is normal to experience some pain and sensitivity in the lips. Most patients find that Tylenol can help relieve this post-injection pain. Avoid NSAIDs such as Motrin and ibuprofen as these can make swelling and bruising worse.
Risks, Safety, and Potential Complications of Lip Augmentation
Common and expected side effects of dermal filler injections include the following:
- May last 1-2 weeks but bad bruises can last up to 4 weeks. That is normal. Bruises can show up several days after the treatment.
- Bruising can be covered by using a darker shade lipstick
- May not always be even from side to side depending on pre-existing lip asymmetry and volume of injection and bleeding at each injection site.
- Initial swelling takes 2 weeks to settle.
- Sleeping propped up and icing can minimize this side effect.
- Avoid exercise first 48 hours or longer as swelling increases when working out.
- Do not manipulate or massage area as this can aggravate swelling.
- Asymmetry can be related to swelling. Wait 2 weeks before deciding whether asymmetry is from filler differences or swelling.
- Please keep in mind that once you start to analyze your face, it is not uncommon to start to “notice” new asymmetries that have been there your entire life.
Lumps and Bumps
- The filler is going to feel firmer than your own tissue. Do not massage or manipulate the area.
- The feeling of lumps and bumps usually improves within 2 weeks as swelling resolves.
- 1 syringe of filler is the equivalent of 1/5th of a teaspoon in volume. After swelling subsides there may be a need for additional filler injections if you desire increased volume.
- Our doctors are very conservative and do not over inject patients. Our physicians prefer to add volume slowly with time to achieve desired results.
- The first time getting injections the results tend to go away faster. With repeat treatments, results last longer as you build your own collagen around the injection sites.
- Lips will also be more dry post injections. Ice the areas and keep lips lubricated with Vaseline or Aquaphor. No more than 20 minutes of ice at a time.
Possible complications after lip injections
- Hypersensitivity or allergic reactions
- Cold sore or herpes simplex virus outbreak
- Acne breakout
- Skin necrosis
- Intra-vascular injection leading to skin necrosis and even blindness
- Sterile abscess
Please notify our office immediately if you feel that you may be experiencing any of the above possible complications after your filler injections.
RealSelf Most Loved Injector Award Winner
Lip Injection Specialists at The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Dr. Naderi is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and a National Clinical Trainer for Allergan and Medicis. He teaches other doctors how to inject Juvederm®, Restylane®, and Perlane® properly. Doctors from all over the world refer to Dr. Naderi’s instructional videos on YouTube to fine tune and improve their own filler injection techniques.
Dr. Kulak is a facial plastic surgeon with a gentle, and artistic female touch. Her patient’s love her nearly-pain-free techniques. She focuses on facial rejuvenation with advanced minimally invasive procedures as well as more invasive face lift and eyelid lift surgeries.
Dr. Alexandra Snodgrass is a board certified dermatologist who trained with Dr. Shervin Naderi prior to joining The Naderi Center. Dr. Snodgrass is expert on a variety of filler types and injection area techniques. Dr. Snodgrass’ dermal filler injections create a noticeable yet natural rejuvenation of the face.
Dr. Erica Anderson, board certified plastic surgeon performs facial filler injections as well as injections on the body. Dr. Erica Anderson is known for her Sculptra® Brazillian Butt Lift. Patient’s desiring to enhance non-facial areas of the body would seek the expert opinion and guidance of Dr. Anderson.
Dr. Shervin Naderi was just named “Top 25 Injector” by the 10 million member community of RealSelf. Out of 2000 nominees, Dr. Naderi was chosen as Top 25! This is a huge honor being recognized by the national and international community of RealSelf, the most trusted and authoritative site for all unbiased plastic surgery research.
Dr. Naderi is one of only 4 winners in the South East region of the United States. His patients who regularly fly and drive to The Naderi Center from all over the country have already known how great he is for his unique style of Botox and filler injections. Doctors all over the world who regularly use his online tutorial videos to learn and enhance their own technique have always respected Dr. Naderi’s injection skills.
Schedule your Lip Augmentation Consultation
Contact us to schedule a consultation for lip augmentation with one of our specialists at The Naderi Center. We are located in the greater Washington DC area with two locations, Chevy Chase, Maryland, 301-222-2020 or Reston, Virginia, 703-481-0002. For out of town patients, we offer virtual consultation options prior to your visit which can be arranged by filling out our contact us form.
Lip Augmentation FAQs
If you live in the states of Virginia or Maryland, The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology offers lip augmentation among its services. For a full list of services, please visit our Locations page.
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