Lip augmentation, lip enhancement, and lip filler are all terms used to describe a medical cosmetic procedure to give you fuller, plumper lips.  There are many types of lip fillers available to inject into the lips.  The most common, and safest, are hyaluronic acid fillers. 

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring precursor to collagen found in our bodies that can be injected into the lips to add shape, volume and better definition.  Depending on the specific lip filler used, the effects typically last 6 – 9 months.  Someone with very thin lips may require two or more sessions to achieve desired results and fullness safely.

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

Since hyaluronic acid fillers are made from a natural substance, the lip filler can be dissolved if a patient has a change of heart, experiences lumps or bumps, or in the event of vascular occlusion, an unusual but urgent situation where the filler has blocked a blood vessel.

The hyaluronic acid gel is able to support and integrate into the tissue of the lips giving a natural shape and subtle volume.  The lip filler can be injected in stages until desired results are achieved. 

The two main benefits of hyaluronic acid lip fillers are their ability to achieve results that are natural and last several months and their low risk of an allergic reaction (since the product is similar to substances found in the body).

Most Popular Hyaluronic Acid Lip Fillers

Different hyaluronic acid fillers behave differently in the tissue. The various dermal fillers can differ in molecule size, gel thickness, presence of local anesthetic, appropriateness for the lip anatomy, and longevity.  HA fillers commonly used for the lips are:

  • Juvederm Volbella
  • Juvederm Ultra XC
  • Restylane-L
  • Restylane Kysse
  • Restylane Defyne

Lip Injection Techniques

At Medical Day Spa of Chapel Hill, our nurses and physician assistant use various techniques to achieve natural-looking lip enhancements, depending on a patient’s lip anatomy and desired results.  The practitioner will customize a plan after assessment and medical clearance have been obtained.  One of the most popular techniques used in lip enhancement is the “Julie Horne technique”.  This technique of creating vertical columns (also known as tenting or fencing) in the superficial layer of the lip tissue can create lift and crisp definition of the lip border. Linear threads may be used to add volume, help with asymmetries, or correct an “M-shaped” lip. We take before-and-after lip photos so that patients can really appreciate their results. 

Concerning Trends in Lip Injections

Several concerning trends in lip fillers emerged over the past few years. “Devil lips” are likely more of a photoshop technique than a lip filler technique, but it is concerning because of the impact it has on women and men who believe the anatomical shape of the lip can be dramatically changed with lip filler, when it cannot be. The Russian lip technique is an exaggerates the vertical height to the lips.  Over-injection of filler for this purpose may increase the risk of filler migration outside of the lips natural border or occlusion of a blood vessel related to over-volumization.

One of the most concerning trends in lip filler injections is a device that can be purchased online by untrained individuals called the hyaluronic acid lip pen.  These devices allow hyaluronic acid to be “injected” into the lips at home or in a salon environment by someone other than a licensed healthcare provider. These devices are dangerous.  There are no controls over the quality or even authenticity of the hyaluronic acid.  The material is technically injected into the lips without a needle, but through lips that have bacteria, leading to increased risk of infection of development of nodules.  In the case of hyaluronic acid purchased online via Amazon or other sites, the self-injector is likely purchasing a product that is not FDA approved, sterile, and may not even be hyaluronic acid. 

Safety with Lip Filler Injections

From a safety standpoint, several factors are important during lip filler injections.  Medical Day Spa practitioners have all been certified by Allergan Medical Institute, the manufacturer of Juvederm and Botox.  The injector inspects the lips for obvious vascular issues or prior injuries.  The lip filler is injected slowly, in small amounts, after aspiration to help determine safe placement, and the needle is changed frequently. We follow-up with all of our lip filler patients the evening of the injection and at 2 weeks.  It is imperative that any practice performing lip filler injections keep multiple vials of hyaluronidase (12 – 20 vials) on hand at all times in the event of an emergency or adverse reaction.  Most important of all, patients should choose an experienced, licensed injector who has undergone rigorous training and education.

The best lip filler – or dermal filler in any area – should be virtually undetectable, providing subtle anti-aging or natural enhancement to the face.  When performed in a medical facility by trained and experienced practitioners, lip filler and lip enhancement can be safe and effective with results lasting several months.

To learn more or schedule a lip filler consultation please call Medical Day Spa of Chapel Hill at 919-904-7111.

If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Hillsborough or anywhere in the Triangle area of North Carolina come on in and experience our 5 star MedSpa !

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