It has been said that the lips are the messengers of the heart. Certainly, your lips can reveal, or betray, your most intimate thoughts and feelings without saying so much as a word. As you express emotions, your lips project clues about your personality and sexuality. Even small changes can have a tremendous impact on the way we are perceived by others.
Not surprisingly, many people are interested in a subtle and (sometimes not-so-subtle) enhancement of their lips. Dr Adam Summers, Director of the Maryland Plastic Surgery Center sees women every day that are concerned with the size and shape of their lips, these changes are due to the aging process as well as the environment. According to Dr. Summers as we age, the tissue around the lips tends to flatten and thin out – smoking does accelerate this process. He believes that whether you were born with thin lips or have lost some fullness over time, the addition of extra volume does create more youthful, attractive lips.
Men, women, twenty-somethings, octogenarians are all eligible for lip-augmentation procedures. Unlike other cosmetic procedures, nearly anyone can be a candidate for lip enhancement. These lip procedures are useful not only for those seeking larger lips, but also for those who want to correct any asymmetries or crookedness in their smile.
Although lip enhancement procedures have been available for decades, the techniques and materials have been greatly improved over the past few years; making this a safer, more predictable and comfortable procedure. In fact, lip enhancements are now easily customized to individual desires, lifestyles and budgets. You may be surprised to learn that the spectrum of lip enhancements range from a simple office procedure, with immediate return to social activities, to procedures performed in an operating room, with a weeks recovery. The advantage of these more aggressive procedures is that the results can be much longer lasting and in some cases, permanent.
Simple procedures are performed with injectable filler substances. In the hands of an experienced plastic surgeon, the lips can be plumped in only 15 minutes, with no bruising or swelling. The results typically last several months, and new filler substances up to one year. The most commonly used fillers contain either hyaluronic acid or collagen. As one of the few surgeons who participated in FDA clinical trials for soft tissue fillers, Dr. Summers has had the opportunity to perform literally thousands of these lip injections. Dr. Summers recommends against the use of the permanent injectable filler as it has shown that there is a significant risk of clumping and irregularities that can appear over time. More invasive procedures involve the implantation
of a natural or synthetic material. Natural materials include use of your own tissue (eg. fat or fascia) or processed tissue. With rare exception, the natural materials are absorbed by the body over time and typically disappear within two years. The most commonly used synthetic material is Gortex, which is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. This has been used for permanent lip augmentation in many patients, with good success. A slight firmness of the lips may be noted with these implants, and rare complications of the implant migration can easily be treated with removal or repositioning of the implant.
New implants that are filled with saline have been FDA approved (Verafil). Similar to breast implants, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. After implantation, they are filled with saline to achieve a soft supple look and feel.
Many patients have their pesky lip lines removed with filler injections or laser treatments with or after their lip augmentation. Because there are so many different lip enhancement technologies available, and because creating beautiful lips is a very precise process, it is very important to be evaluated and have your procedure performed by an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon.
For further information about lip augmentation and other cosmetic procedures call the office of Dr. Adam Summers/Maryland Plastic Surgery Center at 877-433-3547 or visit www.dr-summer.com