Lips - they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no "one size fits all" for this area. Dr. Brown prefers to focus on proportion and balance to keep the overall look of the lips natural and youthful. Some patients want to flip out the lips for a slightly larger look than they were born with; some want natural, subtle volume. Others are more concerned with the fine wrinkles around the lips and don't want the lips themselves touched at all. Dr. Brown uses different injection techniques that she has learned and perfected through the years to help give each of these patients just what they are looking for.
What fillers does Dr. Brown inject in the lips?
Dr. Brown prefers to use a small variety of products in the lips depending on the patient's individual needs. She has tried several different fillers throughout the years and has seen better results with some more than others. In fact, when she underwent her dermatology training 20 years ago, all that was available was the original collagen injections that only lasted 2-3 months. Nowadays, the best lip fillers are all made of hylauronic acid, a natural complex sugar compound found naturally in the skin. This compound works to bind and retain water, which keeps the skin plump and volumized. Restylane and Restylane Refyne are her favorite fillers for lip volume, but she can use others if a patient prefers. Belotero is typically used for the fine lines around the lips because it has a thinner, more natural look for this area. We can go over the options and benefits of each at the time of your procedure.
How long will the results last?
The duration of hyaluronic acid filler injections is dependent on the amount of movement in the area. Because the lips are always moving with talking and eating, this area doesn't last as long as other areas of injection. We typically expect 6 months on average for lip injections, but some patients have longer lasting results (8-9 months). Every patient is different.
What if I want really big lips?
Dr. Brown prefers to keep injections natural and more subtle overall, but we can certainly give you more dramatic results. It is best to slowly build on the volume in the lips, with 1 syringe injected monthly until you have achieved your desired results. This gives the lip area time to slowly stretch over time and adapt to the volume changes.
Is there any pain involved with the injections?
We always apply a strong topical numbing ointment for about 1 hour prior to lip injections to minimize any discomfort. (Don't forget to bring a book or laptop while you wait for the numbing to take effect). Most injection areas are tolerated very well. However, the lips can be more sensitive to many people. If you are concerned about pain with the lips, we will be happy to give you numbing injections inside the mouth to completely block the pain. This will make you prone to drool and swell more for the next hour. (You won't be going to Starbucks afterwards!) We also have laughing gas available in the office for the needle-phobic patients. This is a gamechanger for many individuals, and patients are still able to drive home after 10 minutes. There is a nominal fee for the laughing gas.
What are the side effects?
Side effects are typically mild and similar to other filler injections. They include swelling, redness, tenderness, and bruising. Of note, if you have a history of cold sores in the lip area, you MUST begin an antiviral pill (such as valacyclovir or acyclovir) on the day of treatment to prevent a large flare of the virus. This protocol applies to any fillers or procedures which involve the lip area.
Is there an age limit to lip injections?
Dr. Brown has injected 18-year-olds who needed more volume as well as 80-year-olds who completely lost what they once had. Different aged lips need different injection methods. Dr. Brown is extremely experienced in all types of injections.
How should should I prepare for my injection appointments?