Lip augmentation is a process that involves using injectable or implantable materials to add volume or shape to your lips, which helps to enhance their appearance. Just as each person’s lips are different, so are the materials and techniques that can be used to fill and shape the lips. Your plastic surgeon will evaluate these approaches and discuss your best options for cosmetic enhancement.

Lip Augmentation Risk: Allergic Reaction

Fillers utilized for lip augmentation are available in many varieties. One such example is bovine collagen, a form of collagen taken from cows. While this source can be combined with other fillers or injected alone, the collagen can be allergenic to some people. For this reason, your physician may recommend injecting a small amount or conducting allergy testing prior to injecting a full amount to ensure you do not experience an allergic reaction. Your physician also will likely apply a lidocaine cream to your lips prior to injection. Always disclose to your physician if you have had reactions to lidocaine or other numbing agents in the past to prevent an allergic reaction.

Symptoms you may experience with an allergic reaction to a filler include redness, swelling and itching at the injection site. If you experience severe reaction symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical treatment.

Because many fillers use natural substances, such as hyaluronic acid, a sugar naturally found in your body, they are not associated with an increased risk for experiencing an allergic reaction.

Lip Augmentation Risk: Extended Recovery Time

Because lip augmentation requires some trauma to the lip area, you are likely to experience some redness, bruising and swelling that lasts anywhere from one to two days to two weeks, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Surgical lip implants or grafts can take at least two weeks to heal.

When undergoing lip augmentation, it is important to be prepared for the recovery period. This means enlisting a loved one to drive you home from the procedure. You may want to prepare your home in advance with over-the-counter pain relievers, soft foods to reduce bleeding risk and comfortable pillows where you can prop your head up to minimize swelling. Ask your physician if he recommends any cream or ointment to apply on your lips post-surgery to minimize dryness and discomfort.

Lip Augmentation Complication: Scarring

When the skin around the lip is disturbed, scar tissue can form. Scar tissue is another form of collagen that grows in a disorganized pattern, causing the area to feel harder and appear more noticeable in color and texture than your skin. Scarring is more commonly associated with more invasive surgical approaches for lip augmentation, such as fascia or connective tissue grafting.

Lip Augmentation Complication: Infection

Using sterile techniques to minimize bacteria exposure to the inner portions of your skin is vital to preventing infection following lip augmentation procedures. You can ask your physician what techniques he or she uses to prevent infection. If you are undergoing surgical lip augmentation, you may wish to see the surgical suite where the procedure will be performed. Your physician may recommend applying an antibiotic ointment or taking antibiotics following the procedure to prevent infection from occurring. If you have experienced a surgical-related infection in the past, talk to your plastic surgeon to evaluate steps you can take for the most successful surgery possible.

Lip Augmentation Complication: Unexpected Results

While your physician aims to meet your expectations, it is possible that your lip filler or surgery will not turn out as you had hoped. Whether your lips were over or under-filled, appear asymmetrical or were insufficient to reduce wrinkling around the mouth, it is possible you may be displeased with your results.

“One of the most important things is to make sure that somebody’s been doing the procedure a long time,” says Dominic Brandy, MD, a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and founder of The Skin Center medical spa in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “If they can show you lots of before and after