Content provided by Cleveland Clinic.
Who are the best candidates for lip augmentation?
You must be in good general health overall. You are not a good candidate for lip augmentation if you have oral herpes, certain diseases such as diabetes or lupus, any scarring or connective tissues disorders or blood clotting problems. If you are a smoker, this may also be a complicating factor.
Like any other cosmetic surgery, lip augmentation requires a lot of responsibility. You can only determine for yourself if you’re ready. Once you’ve selected a doctor, you will communicate and decide together which option best suits your needs. As with any medical procedure, you should tell your doctor of any allergies you may have or medications that you are taking, and you will be required to discuss your medical history.
What are my options for lip augmentation?
Your surgeon will most likely use topical anesthesia (painkiller applied directly to the lips) for injections. These are performed on an outpatient basis and you will be sent home the same day. Injectables range from synthetic materials to cow collagen to your own collagen or fat. Some fillers, like the synthetic Artefill, pose a higher risk of allergic reaction while others, like cow collagen, have less permanent effects and are better used to gauge your desired result.
You will most likely receive local anesthesia for a lip implant. The procedure can take up to two hours at your doctor’s office or outpatient center, depending on the complexity, and you will be sent home the same day. The primary lip augmentation implant options are inserting collagen sheets from deceased humans, inserting your own fat into your lips, inserting a synthetic implant or inserting tissue from the inside flap of your mouth. Collagen implants last up to 12 months while synthetic implants like Gore-Text, SoftForm and soft ePTFE are permanent.
How long will my recovery take?
Your recovery will depend on your lifestyle and which procedure you undergo. If you are having injections, your recovery can take just a couple days. Any swelling or bruising can last longer, however. If you are having surgical implants or grafts, your recovery can take up to two weeks.
It’s important that you know yourself. Discuss how much time you think you’ll need for recovery with your doctor. It may be necessary to take some time off work. You will need at least three days off from work following an implant or graft procedure. If you are physically active, you will not be able to exercise for a few days after the injections and perhaps for a few weeks after surgical implants.
How should I prepare for lip augmentation?
It’s important that you have someone with you who can drive you home from the operation. If you are a smoker, you may be required to stop smoking for a period of time before the procedure. You should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully on this. Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing. Be especially mindful of the shirt or blouse you choose to wear that day — it should be button down if possible so you do not have to pull it over your face. You should not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications.
Before your procedure, establish a home recovery area with the following:
- Comfortable pillows on which you can prop yourself
- Ointment or cream as recommended by your doctor
- Plenty of soft foods such as jello, pudding, oatmeal and yogurt that do not require chewing
- Telephone within reaching distance of your recovery area
What are the risks and complications?
As with any surgery, there are risks and complications. You can have allergic reactions to implants or anesthesia. You can experience bleeding or an implant that hardens, which may require removal. You also risk infection or perhaps even nerve damage in some cases. It’s very important that you discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to surgery and that you make your doctor aware of any existing medical conditions that may cause further complications. Call your doctor immediately if you experience extreme swelling or develop a fever.
Does insurance cover lip augmentation?
Insurance may cover lip augmentation if the procedure is being completed for reconstructive purposes, such as fixing a congenital defect or damage from an injury or accident; however, if you are undergoing this procedure purely for cosmetic purposes, you’re most likely on your own paying the bill. Make sure you understand all of your doctor’s charges, including anesthesia, follow-up care, etc. Make sure to obtain an estimate of the charges beforehand and work out a payment plan if necessary.
It’s also very important that you realize elective cosmetic surgery may impact your current insurance. Your carrier can increase your premiums and it can affect future coverage. Make sure you ask your insurance carrier about its policy on elective cosmetic surgery so you’re not surprised later on.