Your mouth gets a lot of attention when you talk, smile or eat — basic elements of a romantic date night. When you want your lips to impress, you might reach for your favorite gloss or lipstick to make them pop; but if your lips are naturally thin or have begun to lose volume as you age, even your boldest shades may not have the effect you’re hoping for. Uneven fullness or feathered lip wrinkles might also have you feeling like your mouth leaves something to be desired. Take Kylie Jenner or Angelina Jolie as evidence: full, luscious lips can take your look to a whole new level of sexy. If you want to achieve a plumper, smoother pout, you may be a good candidate for a cosmetic lip enhancement procedure.

What is Lip Enhancement?

Lip enhancement includes a range of treatments that vary in invasiveness, longevity and effects. These treatments are designed to plump your lips, even out upper and lower fullness, eliminate fine lines and give your lips a well-defined border. At The Maas ClinicTM, we see clients of all ages, genders and skin types who are interested in lip enhancements. Some are older and have found that their lips are losing volume and softness. Other clients are young — even in their 20s or 30s — but have always felt that their lips looked unbalanced or too narrow. During your consultation with our expert plastic surgeon Corey S. Maas MDTM, you can discuss your concerns and find out what each type of enhancement is best able to accomplish; then, you can decide on the procedure that will give you lips you can flaunt. We provide two main categories of lip enhancement: implants and fillers.

Lip Implants

For memorable lips that last, lip implants are likely your best bet. Implants can be made up of natural body tissues, artificial materials that mimic human tissue or synthetics with a history of low risk for rejection. Depending on the material you choose, your results will look and feel slightly different — some options will give you a soft, kissable texture while others can deliver a perfectly-defined lip line. Implants are typically inserted during a minimally-invasive process that uses tiny incisions at the edges of the lips; fat implants, however, can be liquefied and injected.

Autologous Tissue Implants

Implants using materials from your own body — like fat, muscle or dermal tissue — are called autologous tissue implants. These implants often make the most sense if you are already undergoing a different surgical procedure — like a facelift or liposuction — where your surgeon can reserve some of the excess body tissues being removed to use as your implant material. If you want autologous implants but are not undergoing a different procedure, your surgeon will need to perform surgery to remove fat or body tissue from a donor site to use for your implants.

These implants provide the most natural-feeling lips because they use your biological tissues to create lip volume. This also means that your risk of rejection is very low since your body is not likely to reject its own materials. However, these implants tend to have a shorter lifespan than artificial materials because your body can absorb or break down the implanted tissue over time, much the same way you naturally lose volume in your lips.

Homologous Implants

In 1997, a material called Alloderm was introduced to the dental surgery market as a means of restoring gum tissue without requiring a skin transplant. In essence, Alloderm is human skin tissue that has been purified to remove all cellular matter that could cause a transplant rejection reaction — it quickly became popular in a variety of medical markets, including grafts for burn victims and sterile tissue for breast reconstruction clients. Its versatility and low risk of rejection also allow it to be used as an option for lip implants.

Alloderm implants provide a similar feel to natural body tissue implants since it is largely composed of the same materials. This can be a great option for lip implant clients who want a natural, soft lip but are not already planning to undergo a surgery that will provide the necessary tissue for autologous implants. Alloderm’s longevity is difficult to predict, however, with some clients’ bodies reabsorbing it at a faster rate than others.

Synthetic Implants

Fully synthetic implants like Gore-Tex, Advanta and Ultrasoft are considered permanent options for lip enhancement. These materials are biocompatible, which means they do not occur naturally in the body but they work seamlessly with your body’s tissues to reduce the risk of adverse reactions. Gore-Tex and Advanta are composed of a material called expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (EPTFE), which has been previously used in dissolvable sutures and artery grafts. EPTFE can deliver a beautifully defined lip shape and a firmer texture. In the case of complications or migration, it is very easy to remove or reposition. Ultrasoft is synthesized just for use in facial tissue augmentation. It is created with a hollow core, which makes it noticeably softer than EPTFE while retaining the advantages of biocompatibility and easy correction. At The Maas ClinicTM, Ultrasoft is usually our top recommendation for lip enhancement that delivers a soft, sculpted and permanent pout.

Hyaluronic Acid Lip Fillers

If you are not sure that you want a permanent or invasive solution for your lips, you are not alone: temporary injectable lip fillers are the most popular option for lip enhancement. The simplicity of the procedure combined with the immediate and highly effective results make fillers perfect for creating your ideal, voluminous lips without the need for a surgical procedure and recovery. With hyaluronic acid injectables, you can schedule your treatment for your lunch break on Wednesday and have picture-perfect lips in time for your Friday girls’ night selfies.

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in the body for moisture retention and intercellular volume. Several different dermal filler brands have harnessed the power of hyaluronic acid; its ability to hold nearly 6000 times its own volume in water molecules makes it ideal for plumping sagging or wrinkling skin. At The Maas ClinicTM, we can expertly provide injectable lip enhancements with a few brands of fillers that offer specific lip formulas — finer, thinner options that can give a more detailed fill, volumizing without making you look overdone.

Restylane Silk

Restylane is a tried-and-true choice for many clients who have had injectable filler treatments. Their line of products includes fillers formulated for wrinkles, facial hollowness and lips, making it especially ideal for clients who want to treat multiple areas of the face but do not want to combine different brands of injectables. Restylane Silk is the lip-specific formula, which uses smaller, highly processed hyaluronic acid particles to deliver a seamless result that looks and feels completely natural.

Juvederm Ultra XC and Volbella XC

Like Restylane, Juvederm offers a suite of fillers that are ideal for different parts of the face. Juvederm takes customization one step further with two fillers created for the lips: Ultra XC and Volbella XC, which are intended to boost lip fullness and diminish lip wrinkles, respectively. Juvederm Ultra XC and Volbella XC also use smaller, smoother hyaluronic acid formulas to ensure a fuller, softer lip that doesn’t look permanently puckered.

Achieving your perfect pout does not need to be a daydream any longer — with one of the lip enhancement options we offer at The Maas ClinicTM, you can have the plump lips you want with a single procedure. Schedule a consultation with Corey S. Maas MDTM, our resident plastic surgeon and internationally recognized expert in facial cosmetic procedures. Dr. Maas will help you find the right lip enhancement treatment for your aesthetic goals and will work with you to create lips that stand out in all the right ways. Call us today at 415-567-7000 to make your first appointment.

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