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Dr Tim Neavin
Surgery with Symmetry
Dr Tim Neavin

Lip Augmentation in Santa Barbara

Lips continue to gain in popularity as a favorite enhancement feature for women. However, more men are also requesting fuller lips today. Full lips are not only beautiful, they are youthful, which is why volume enhancement of the lips serves to rejuvenate the face.

It is unlikely that a full pout will ever go out of style since its essence truly defines youth. Lips become their fullest in the teen years and deflate slowly over time. Both volume and projection are affected, as well as lip length. The lip will elongate and involute throughout age. Thus, true lip (or mouth) rejuvenation should include many components other than simply lip size.

Before and After Photos

Beautiful lips in men and women have particular features and proportions, which are vital to understand in any lip rejuvenation procedure. For instance, most of the volume in the upper lip exists in the center third. As the lip extends to the corners of the mouth, the volume tapers. The upper lip should also possess a curl as it drops from the nose. And, it should have a well defined cupid’s bow (see below).

The youthful lower lip is designed with two cheeks or areas of fullness separated at the mid-line by a gentle cleft. The lower lip ideally is about fifty percent larger than the upper lip. It should project the same or more than the upper lip from the face.

Understanding the aesthetic ideals of the face tells us that there are areas of both the upper lip and lower lip that should never be injected. Certain sub-units of the upper and lower lip must be identified and respected. Ignoring the sub-units and adding volume without understanding the ideal aesthetics and proportions will result in a fake look, often referred to as duck lips or a trout pout.

The Principles of Lip Augmentation

Beautiful Lips Features

  • The bottom lip is one-and-a-half times larger than the upper lip.
  • The large majority of red lip show (mucosa) is in the center 2/3 of the lip. As the lips move to the corner of the mouth, the lips volume should taper off rapidly.
  • The upper lip has a dimple in the middle called the philtral dimple. Along the sides of this dimple are the philtral columns. These are prominent in beautiful lips.
  • The center of the lip in the bottom has a bump called a tubercle. This tends to fade with age. The lips are fullest at age 14 to 15 in women, paralleling the increased estrogen levels of puberty.
  • The lower lip has a natural cleft creating two cheeks.

An understanding of these elements is essential to creating sexy, youthful lips. Only specific sub-units should be injected in the right proportions to achieve a look that is both beautiful and natural.

Beyond lips: Fillers to accessorize the lips

The same products used for lip augmentation are used to fill depressions in the face caused by aging. The idea of fillers is to replace volume to fill shadows or camouflage tissue descent. To understand how fillers rejuvenate the face, we must look at the aging process itself.

As we age, our face deflates like a balloon. If you look at pictures when you were in high school, even if you were thinner, your face was fuller – particularly in the cheeks, temples and lips. Our face can lose a small amount of volume every year during our 20s, and the fat loss accelerates as we age. Sometimes, facial fat grafting (also called fat transfer) is a great way to replace volume. Other times, injectables work well.

There are new injectable products emerging all the time. Most of these products are exceptionally safe. There are temporary fillers, permanent fillers, and semi-permanent fillers. The safest and most predictable are the temporary and semi-permanent products. Silicone is a permanent facial filler that can lead to terrible deformities down the road. While this was popular decades ago, it is no longer deemed safe to inject into the body as tissue granulomas can form. (It is important to note that silicone breast implants remain safe and are unrelated to the effects of silicone injections.)

Many semi-permanent fillers are new and very safe. Common semi-permanent fillers include Sculptra®, Radiesse® and Bellafill®. These products are not appropriate for lip augmentation, but they do work well to add definition to the cheekbones and smooth away smile lines.

These fillers can even rejuvenate the hands. Unfortunately, many plastic surgeons ignore the hands when it comes to rejuvenation. Incidentally, the hands are a critical aging zone that should not be neglected. Fat, Radiesse®, and lasers are wonderful ways to rejuvenate the backs of the hands to create a more youthful appearance.

The most common filler products are the hyaluronic acid-based formulations such as Restylane®, Juvederm®, Perlane®, and Voluma®. These last from six months to two years. CLICK HERE to see more on injectables.

‘Filling the Face’ with a hyaluronic acid product, Juvederm Ultra®

Multiple areas were addressed to add subtle but significant changes to the face simulating a facelift including the cheeks, marionette lines, nasolabial folds, and the jaw line to ‘hide’ the presence of a jowl. This picture is taken four days after injection. There is very little down time. This patient went out to dinner the same night. A small, temporary bruise is apparent below the right lip. This was gone by the end of the week.

Sometimes a combination of fillers and fat grafting is necessary to restore youth. Below is a patient who received two syringes of Juvederm®.

Lip augmentation is an effective way to enhance your appearance and turn back the clock. To learn more about your choices in lip augmentation, contact Artisan of Beauty Plastic Surgery at 310-858-8811 or text 323-975-1287.

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