If you envy Angelina Jolie’s pouty lips, there’s always lip augmentation. Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that increases the fullness of one’s lips, and is predominantly done via injectable dermal fillers — the most common ones used these days are specialised lip fillers such as Restylane Lipp. They are made of stabilised, cross-linked hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in the skin and body. Hyaluronic acid fillers enhance by adding shape, structure and volume to the lips.
Collagen dermal fillers, once prevalent, are used less often now as they carry a greater risk of allergic reactions. Fat transfer is also carried out less frequently due to the risk of the fat overgrowing and distorting the lips.
Lip augmentation methods using injectable fillers can be done in as little as 10 minutes, with minimal downtime. Before the injections are administered, a topical or local anaesthetic is applied to lessen the discomfort. All the newer HA fillers come pre-mixed with local anaesthetic. After the target areas are precisely marked, fillers are injected into the lips using very fine needles or cannulae.
After the procedure, the lips will feel numb due to the anaesthesia, which takes about an hour to wear off. There may be slight swelling, and ice may be applied to reduce this. However, firm pressure should not be applied on the treatment area. The swelling should subside within a few days. Once the swelling has eased, there will be a noticeable enhancement to the volume, shape and definition of the lips.
Lip augmentation is not permanent. The effects usually last around one to two years, depending on activity. Patients who desire long-term results can return to their plastic surgeons for subsequent procedures.
Lip augmentation is very safe in the hands of trained professionals. However, there are occasional reports of bleeding, infection, lip asymmetry, ulcers and the development of lumps. If such complications occur, consult a qualified plastic surgeon to determine the cause and to remedy the problem.