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Comparing Lip Augmentation Procedures: Lip Lift Surgery, Lip Fillers, and Lip Implants

Published on December 18, 2019
Closeup Beautiful face of young woman

Many parts of the face, including the lips, tend to lose volume as people age. Of course, a lot of people are born with thin lips. In the age of lip kits bearing the names of famous celebrities, though, it’s perfectly understandable that more and more regular people want to pump up their lips. The real question is whether the popularity of lip augmentation is just a passing phase like many other beauty trends before it or if it actually has the capability to stand the test of time.

Depending on the types of results you’re seeking—whether you want to reshape and plump up your lips permanently or temporarily—there are several lip augmentation options available to you.

What Is Lip Lift Surgery?

Lip lift surgery is a lip augmentation procedure in which your top lip is literally lifted up to create or restore volume.

The Procedure

Lip lift surgery is typically administered under either general or local anesthesia depending on the client’s comfort level. During the procedure, your facial plastic surgeon will shorten the skin above the upper lip and turn the vermillion border (the pink part of your lips) slightly inside out. Forcing the vermillion border outward creates a sultry, voluminous, and pouty upper lip. At the end of the procedure, sutures are placed and allowed to set for about one week before being removed.

Advantages of Lip Lift Surgery

Some of the advantages of lip lift surgery include improved appearance by adding volume and creating a beautiful smile. In turn, this improved appearance can help boost your confidence. This procedure is ideal for people with extremely thin lips who want more volume and definition. Also, this is a minimally invasive procedure compared to lip implants.

Disadvantages of Lip Lift Surgery

It’s a surgical procedure, which means that some downtime (approximately two weeks or more, depending on your healing capabilities) is necessary. During the recovery period, you might experience some redness and minor bruising around the lower half of your face. Anesthesia is used for this procedure, which means that you might have to arrange for a ride home in advance. Also, this is an inpatient procedure that lasts about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the amount of work needed.

What Are Lip Fillers?

Lip fillers are the most commonly sought-after and affordable lip augmentation procedure for several reasons. They’re easy, convenient, and they deliver almost instant gratification for a lot of clients. Also, lip fillers are impermanent, which works out well if you decide you don’t like the results.

The Procedure

The procedure is very simple and minimally invasive. Lip fillers, also known as injectables, are a non-surgical procedure that involves injecting the lips with a neuromodulator which consists largely of hyaluronic acid—a substance that’s naturally produced by the body to stimulate collagen production—and collagen.

In some cases, the filler substance can even be derived from other parts of your body like your upper thigh or arm, which eliminates the risk of having an adverse reaction.

Advantages of Lip Fillers

It’s non-surgical, which means there’s virtually no downtime and usually no recovery required. This procedure can be done in about 15 minutes or less and it’s an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t be admitted to a hospital and it can be done right in the doctor’s office.

Disadvantages of Lip Fillers

Lip fillers are temporary and usually only last about six months to one year. That means you’ll have to get them done on a regular basis to maintain the results.

What Are Lip Implants?

Lip implants are by far the least popular lip augmentation procedure and should only be performed by highly trained and experienced facial plastic surgeons.

The Procedure

Lip implants involve using general anesthesia to put the client to sleep. Then a small incision is made in either one or both of the lips depending on whether you’re getting them both enhanced. The genetic or synthetic materials are then inserted through the holes and secured in place.

Another far less common and more extreme version of the procedure, known as local flap grafting, involves removing the delicate tissue from the inside of your mouth and implanting it into your lips to create volume.

Advantages of Lip Implants

Although they’re meant to last for a very long time, there’s no guarantee what kind of effect lip implants will have on your appearance. The longevity of the implants depends largely on the materials you choose (i.e. natural vs. synthetic) and how your body reacts to them. Generally speaking, though, lip implants are considered to be a permanent treatment option and if all goes well, they should last a very long time.

Disadvantages of Lip Implants

Lip implants can either be made of synthetic materials or they can be derived from fat and collagen collected from the person’s body. Synthetic materials can be harmful as some individuals may have severe or minor allergic reactions to them. Other risks involve infection and migration of the implants or your body could reject them entirely.

Even though this procedure boasts long-lasting results, the chances of implant migration are still considerable and it can happen many years down the line, causing potentially hazardous disfigurement.

Nerve damage or permanent numbness in the lips along with bleeding and permanent scarring are also potential risk factors that come with this procedure. Silicone implants tend to last longer, but saline implants are more likely to deflate over time.

In cases where collagen or fat cells from the client’s body are used, the risk of infection or an allergic reaction is virtually non-existent. However, there’s a high chance that your body may absorb the collagen or fat cells over time, which could reverse the results of the initial procedure and necessitate further treatment to restore volume.

Are you thinking of undergoing a lip augmentation procedure in Toronto?

Dr. Gantous has been practicing facial plastic surgery in Toronto for more than 20 years at Toronto Facial Plastic Surgery. He’s performed numerous lip augmentation procedures with outstanding long-lasting results and would be happy to meet with you to discuss your options and answer your questions. Book a consultation today!

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