Lip augmentation is not just for women who want larger, sexier lips. As people age, their lips lose fullness which makes them appear older. While injectable fillers can combat aging around the lips and mouth, not all are created equal – some can even lead to long-lasting complications, say presenters at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.
"Numerous injectable fillers have entered the market over the last five years giving patients a number of options for fuller, younger lips," said Miles Graivier, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and course presenter. "But patients need to be aware of the risks and benefits of these products. Some fillers carry a higher risk of complication depending upon where they are injected, which can lead to unsatisfactory results."
During lip augmentation and rejuvenation of the aging mouth, it is best to address all of the following areas: the outer mouth (laugh lines), edge of lip (lipstick lines), and inner lip. While injectable fillers can tackle these various areas, some are more appropriate than others depending upon the targeted area.
Semi-permanent fillers are best around the mouth and along the lip's border and help to redefine the edge and fill in lipstick and laugh lines. However, when semi-permanent fillers are injected into the inner lip, patients may experience a higher rate of complications like visible lumps and clumping. Since results can last between one and two years, this can leave patients with a poor result for several months.
The gold standard for augmenting the inner lip is hyaluronic acid fillers, which last three to six months. Hyaluronic acids carry little risk because of their short-term results. Collagen can be used, but due to collagen's high cost, hyaluronic acids are considered superior.
"When most people think of lip augmentation, they immediately picture lips like Angelina Jolie," said Dr. Graivier. "However, the average lip augmentation patient is aged 35-64 and has the procedure to restore, not to over fill. Lip augmentation, combined with rejuvenation of surrounding problem areas like laugh lines, can really remove years from your appearance. The key is using the appropriate filler in the correct area."
The demand for lip augmentation is on the rise, according to the ASPS. Nearly 26,000 non-injectable procedures were performed in 2005, up 39 percent from 2000.
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