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Lip Enhancement: Knife or Needle?

According to a recent American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics report, surgical lip augmentation has increased 5% since 2016 and 60% since 2000 and soft tissue fillers have increased 312% since 2000. We are inundated with photographs of augmented lips in pop culture which leads many people to seek out their unique lip aesthetic. Injectable […]

According to a recent American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics report, surgical lip augmentation has increased 5% since 2016 and 60% since 2000 and soft tissue fillers have increased 312% since 2000. We are inundated with photographs of augmented lips in pop culture which leads many people to seek out their unique lip aesthetic. Injectable fillers can three-dimensionally restore the natural contours of the lips and perioral area, thereby reducing some signs of aging lips. The upper lip lift, utilizing various techniques, has been used by plastic surgeons for over thirty years to reduce the height of the white lip and establish more youthful proportions. Other lip surgeries are also available to restore proper proportions and attain a desired appearance.

Deciding whether to get injectable fillers or surgery can be difficult. For the majority of the growing providers offering fillers, this is the only tool in their therapeutic armamentarium. Therefore, many patients are not presented with the full range of options. And many providers do not know that there are other options available. It becomes even more confusing for people when they finally make an appointment with a plastic surgeon in their area for a lip surgery consultation, only to be told that that type of surgery is not offered. Lip surgery is complex, with slight changes having major ramifications on the harmony of the entire face. And – needless to say – one misstep with the knife and suture can lead to permanent scarring in a prominent part of the face.

Luckily, there are resources such as Realself.com, where interested people can find providers able to offer the full gamut of services, from fillers to surgery. The search can be daunting, however, it is well worth the investment. Here is a brief comparison of filler versus surgery for lip enhancement to jump-start your journey:

Lip Filler

  • Temporary (6-9 months)
  • Limited downtime
  • Primarily effective on the red lip
  • Hydrates the red lip
  • Costly over time
  • Risk of vascular occlusion

Lip Surgery

  • Permanent
  • Longer downtime
  • Effective on red and white portions of lip
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Restores natural curvature and length of philtrum
  • Improves upper dental show
  • Risk of scarring
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