Lip augmentation refers to any of several methods to increase the volume or outward appearance of the lip(s). This can be accomplished using silastic materials which are threaded through the lip (implants), dermal graft threads, fat injections, or injection of filler material into either the vermillion border of the lip or into the bulky part of the lip. Lip reductions are accomplished by removing strips of lip tissue and carefully restoring normal lip contours. Lip reductions are much less common, and in general are ill advised because they frequently unveil an unnatural display of the teeth, and lip reductions are not easily reversed.
Augmentation means making the whole lip bigger. Enhancement means accentuation of the lip by making the borders more pronounced. Teflon implants may be used to augment your lips. However, individual consultations will need to take place to determine if a patient is a good candidate. The infection rate on this method is fairly high; therefore, this option is not used often in our practice. Dr. Gordon has had good results using skin or scar tissue harvested from a discrete area of your body and placed in the lip(s) to give volume. Fat also works well however patients need to be tolerant of the frequent need to repeat the fat graft procedure in the lip area until the final desired result is obtained. This may require 2 or rarely 3 fat graft sessions. Fat does actually seem to work better in other areas of the face (over the bones), and usually does not require multiple fat graft sessions. Lips move a lot; maybe that has something to do with fat graft longevity. No one knows for sure.
Dermis or Fat Transplantation is done by removing skin or fat from the patient’s body, and preparing it properly to insert or re-inject into the lips. Because we are grafting your tissue, final results tend to be long lasting or permanent. Dr. Gordon can help you decide if this method is a viable solution for you.
We now have an array of FDA – approved filler materials which do a good job of augmenting and enhancing the lips, the folds between nose & cheek, and multiple other areas of the face including temples, lower eyelid, and cheek.
We mention lip reduction primarily for the purpose of discouraging the reader from pursuing this. Dr. Gordon rarely performs lip reduction for large lips, because the appearance of large lips is frequently the result of a dental occlusion issue, and not overdevelopment of the lips themselves. In other words the large lips do cover the teeth and allow for normal chewing, speaking and drinking without straining. The reason why the lips look large is perhaps because the teeth or jaws are protrusive or the teeth themselves are large or forward and push the lips forward, rolling them up and out. Even large lips have a certain height to length to depth ratio that if altered can create rather odd looking lips. In addition, when large lips are reduced, an un-natural display of teeth or lip position usually is produced. It’s kind of like creating a curtain that is too short and looks peculiar.
There are of course exceptions to every rule it seems, so don’t be bashful about asking Dr. Gordon anything about lip reduction.
Reduction or elimination of bumps or scars in the lip area occurring after trauma is a different circumstance and can, in fact, frequently be improved surgically.