The lips and the area around the mouth often show unpleasant changes as we age: loss of volume, lip lines, thinning lips. Too much volume is unattractive, but most patients regardless of their age like shapely full lips. This is a sign of youth. Many interventions can rehabilitate the lips as well as the area around the mouth.
As we age, the facial skeleton changes shape: the bone supporting the base of the nose, right where the smile line touches the nose, resorbs; this deepens the smile lines in that area. The jaw bone, on either side of the chin, also resorbs which takes away support from the muscles of the corners of the mouth. This creates a depression or sunken look beneath the corners of the mouth. The soft tissues also lose volume which contributes to wrinkles and hollowing. The pink of the lips lose shape and border definition, and this overall volume loss creates contraction that leads to vertical lines surrounding both upper and lower lips. The changes in the facial skeleton also cause the lips to roll inward, towards the teeth, and the youthful upward curvature of the upper lip becomes flat or a convex surface that is unappealing. And lastly, the distance between the bottom of the nose, and the vermillion border (the junction of the pink of the lip with the skin) increases, and the philtrum and cupid’s bow flatten out and lose shape and definition.
An example of a patient before and after
surgical lip augmentation
To achieve the most natural results, the ideal solution is to address the entire mouth area rather than only one or two areas. If this is not possible, then you should start with the treatment which makes the most visible impact. As indicated earlier, there are many interventions to rehabilitate the mouth area. Several different dermal fillers can be used to improve lines and folds, and to replace lost volume both in the bone loss areas and the soft tissue. Fractional laser resurfacing treatments will further improve lines, wrinkles, and skin texture; and the ultimate is surgical lip augmentation. It is a simple in- office surgery performed with mild sedation and local anesthesia. It’s an excellent procedure which reduces the vertical distance to the nose, restores definition to the cupid’s bow and restores the shape of the lips overall. It also restores natural volume to the pink of the lip, and all of this is in a long lasting, natural way. Without doubt, this procedure is also the best option to reduce the deepest portion of the vertical lip lines that are the closest to the lips. These are the lines that bother patients the most.
The surgical lip augmentation also allows us to use the patient’s own tissue if additional volume is needed for shaping or fullness. Sutures are removed in one week, and lipstick can be applied after the first week. The lips appear natural with the added benefit of much better shape and definition that cannot be accomplished with filler injections alone. This is a simple, quick recovery procedure that can be done alone or in combination with other procedures. Patients seem especially attracted to this surgery because it is a long term solution to the problem of thinning lips.