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Michael H. Rosenberg, MD, FACS
Q. I’m hearing a lot about surgical lip augmentation. Why?
A. I’ve seen a steady rise in women looking for lip augmentation (enlargement) over the last two years. Most want to reverse the effects of aging, which thins the lips. Now combine that desire with the ready availability of improved and relatively inexpensive surgical options that have very minimal side effects and give consistently good results, plus the impact of celebrities “normalizing” the procedure – and you have a trend. My fastest-growing patient demographic is white women aged 35 to 50 years, with most at the upper end. “I’m losing my lips. I can’t see them!” my patients complain. Lip augmentation not only plumps up the lips, but fuller lips help hide some of the little age lines between the lips and nose.
Q. Do I have a choice of methods?
A. Absolutely. The two surgical techniques are injectables and implants. In the first, I inject a “filler,” into the lips. This substance exists naturally under our skin. Results last from six to nine months. The implant method involves inserting a very thin, soft, supple plastic material into the lips. As the material expands, its tiny microscopic pores allow your own tissue to grow into it and hold it in place. Synthetic implants come in several standard sizes and are intended to be permanent. You can have it removed, but because it’s anchored by your tissues, removal can be difficult. Here’s why I strongly favor injectables: I can control to the milliliter how much filler I put in, which is not the case with a plastic material. And with injectables, you and I can take a step backwards after putting in filler. We can see if you like your new lip size. Then, if you want more, we can do that. Most of my patients choose the injectable method.
Q. Can I have any lip size I want?
A. You mean, if you have very small, thin lips and you bring in a picture of Angelina Jolie, can we do that? This brings up an important point. As in all enhancement procedures, there are anatomic limits to enlarging the lips. You want a natural-looking result. The body can tolerate augmentation up to a point and still maintain a natural look; but after that, more starts to look unnatural.
Q. What can I expect during the procedure – and after?
A. The injectable procedure is performed in the office and takes 10 to 15 minutes. You can go right back to work – there’s no downtime. For two to three hours, your lips will be numb from the local anesthesia. So don’t have the procedure right before dinner! Inserting implants is also an outpatient procedure. Afterwards, you’ll have to eat soft foods for a few days. In both cases, the change is visible immediately, though the full effect occurs over 24 to 48 hours. Patients love the results. This is a safe, relatively quick and easy way to turn back the clock.
Learn More about Dr. Rosenberg
Institute of Aesthetic Surgery & Medicine,
Associate Medical Director
Northern Westchester Hospital
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