Knowing Your Options

Lip enhancement options range from temporary fillers to permanent silicone lip implants. These products can also be used to add a fuller, more sensuous look to the lips. Injectables are usually not sufficient for severe surface wrinkles on the face, such as multiple vertical "lipstick lines" or “smoker’s lines” that sometimes form around the mouth. Instead, Dr. Cappuccino may suggest a resurfacing technique, such as the Contour Laser. Rather than filling in facial lines, resurfacing methods strip away the outer layers of the skin to produce a smoother appearance.

Deep folds in the face or brow caused by overactive muscles or by loose skin may be more effectively treated with cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift or browlift. Injectables are sometimes used in conjunction with facial surgery procedures; however, injectables alone cannot change facial contour the way surgery can.

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A Word About Other Types of Fillers

Today most lip enhancement is done with temporary hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers.  These are the fillers of choice because of their natural look and feel as well as safety profile including the ability to be dissolved if needed. Fat, while also a viable option has unique advantages and disadvantages.  Fat transfer is more permanent, but less reliable and has the potential for less natural appearing and feeling results.

Silicone lip implants are also used to permanently enhance the lips. They are also easy to remove if you so desire. Each of these options has its own set of risks and benefits. If you're considering any of these alternative filler treatments, let Dr. Cappuccino know.

What to Expect from Your Lip Enhancement

The most important fact to remember about injectable fillers is that the results are not permanent. Injected material is eventually metabolized by the body. You should not expect the same long-lasting results that may be gained from cosmetic surgery.

However, many patients do appreciate a cumulative improvement in their lips’ appearance after several treatments even when the filler has dissolved. This may be due to some natural collagen development in reaction to the procedures.

Depending on the patient and the filler chosen, the results may last only a few weeks; in others, the results may be maintained for over a year. Researchers believe that age, genetic background, skin quality, and lifestyle, as well as the injected body site, may all play a role in the injected material's "staying power." However, the precise reason for the variation of results among patients has yet to be identified.

Before & After

Risks Related to Injectables

When injectables are administered by a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Cappuccino, complications are infrequent and usually minor in nature. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities. The outcome of treatment with injectables is never completely predictable.

Filler Complications

Allergic reaction is very rare with today’s dermal fillers. Complications may include unevenness and firm areas around the area that was filled. Most often these are related to swelling and resolve on their own, but if correction is needed, hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved or adjusted.

Fat Transfer Injections

Allergic reaction is not a factor for fat because it's harvested from your very own body. However, there is still a small risk of infection and other infrequent complications.

Planning Your Lip Enhancement

In your initial consultation, Dr. Cappuccino will evaluate your face—making note of the skin, the muscles, and the underlying bone—and discuss your goals for the surgery. Your doctor will help you select a treatment option based on your goals and concerns, your anatomy, and your lifestyle.

Your surgeon will ask you about your medical history, drug allergies, and check for conditions that could cause problems, such as active skin infections or non-healed sores from injuries. Collagen injections are generally off-limits for pregnant women, individuals who are allergic to beef or bovine products, patients who suffer from autoimmune diseases, and those who are allergic to lidocaine (the anesthetic agent contained in the syringe with the collagen material).

The Day of Your Treatment

Topical anesthetic is first applied to the lips prior to injection.  Once the lips are numb, the filler, which also contains the anesthetic lidocaine is injected.  Most patients report little to no discomfort. Following treatment, cool packs will be applied to the area.

After Your Treatment

Immediately following treatment, you may notice some minor discomfort, stinging, or throbbing in the injected area. Occasionally some bruising or swelling will occur, but it is usually minor. Any redness that appears in the injected site usually disappears within 24 hours. However, in some individuals, particularly fair-skinned patients, this redness may persist for a week or more. Tiny scabs may also form over the needle-stick areas; these generally heal quickly. No bandaging is needed and you are free to eat, drink, and wear makeup with sunblock protection shortly thereafter. There may be some temporary swelling and redness in the treated area which should dissipate within a few days. If these symptoms persist, contact your surgeon.

Enjoying Your Results

As stated earlier, the duration of results from dermal fillers is variable. The longevity depends on the patient's lifestyle and physical characteristics as well as the part of the body treated. In general, the injected material is likely to disappear faster in areas that are more affected by muscle movement.

Your doctor can help you determine how long you can go between treatments to best maintain your results.

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Fat Transfer Injections

In the medical world, the fat injection procedure is known as autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection. It involves extracting fat cells from the patient's abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or elsewhere and reinjecting them beneath the facial skin. Fat is most often used to fill in "sunken" cheeks or laugh lines between the nose and mouth, to correct skin depressions or indentations, to minimize forehead wrinkles, and to enhance the lips.

The Procedure

After both the donor and recipient sites are cleansed and treated with local anesthesia, the fat is withdrawn using a syringe with a large-bore needle or a cannula (the same instrument used in liposuction) attached to a suction device. The fat is then prepared and injected into the recipient site with a needle. Sometimes an adhesive bandage is applied over the injection site. As with collagen, "overfilling" is necessary to allow for fat absorption in the weeks following treatment. When fat is used to fill sunken cheeks or to correct areas on the face other than lines, this overcorrection of newly injected fat may temporarily make the face appear abnormally puffed out or swollen.

After Your Treatment

If a larger area was treated, you may be advised to curtail your activity for a brief time. However, many patients are able to resume normal activity immediately. You can expect some swelling, bruising, or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends upon the size and location of the treated area. You should stay out of the sun until the redness and bruising subsides - usually about 48 hours. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sunblock protection to help conceal your condition. The swelling and puffiness in the recipient site may last several weeks, especially if a large area was filled.

Your Results

The duration of the fat injections varies significantly from patient to patient. Though some patients have reported results lasting a year or more, the majority of patients find that at least half of the injected fullness disappears within three to six months.

Therefore, repeated injections may be necessary. Dr. Cappuccino will advise you on how to maintain your results with repeat treatments.

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Getting Ready to Love Your New Look

If you're like most patients, you'll be very satisfied with the results of your injectable treatments. You may be surprised at the pleasing results that can be gained from this procedure, and delighted at how minimal the recovery period is. Depending on your treatment option, Dr. Cappuccino will let you know exactly what to expect as you prepare to enjoy your results. When you’re ready to learn more about how lip enhancement can benefit you, reach out to our Mount Airy, Maryland location. We’re proud to be serving patients in the Frederick area and beyond, and we can’t wait to learn more about what we can do for you.

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