Lip Augmentation Solutions

A full, luscious lip can be achieved through popular surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Medically Reviewed by William A. Kennedy III, MDLast Reviewed 09.28.2020
Last Updated 09.30.2020

The Skinny

Lip size is an essential component of facial symmetry, balance, and aesthetic (read our guide to lip size). A board certified plastic surgeon can assist in creating the perfect volume both at rest and when displaying your best smile. Lip augmentation procedures to create volume and enhance fullness of both the upper lip and lower lip are excellent choices for creating an ideal lip size, while also combatting the effects of aging. Permanent and temporary solutions exist within a wide range of invasiveness, meaning there is an ideal fix for every concern.

The Specifics

Who may consider a lip augmentation procedure?

Those who may wish to consider lip size modifications include men and women looking to enhance their natural appearance or those whose daily activities are being adversely impacted by irregularities of small size or thinning. (1)

What can you expect from lip augmentation procedures?

From the comfort of your home to the safety of a professional operating room, there exists a multitude of procedures to suit all needs and desires. Simple home makeup applications, permanent or temporary injectables, and surgical procedures are available, and increasing in popularity. Basic procedures have minimal recovery time, while more involved surgeries may require one to four weeks for complete recovery. The permanence of results is dependent upon an individual candidate’s goals, allowing for nominal to enduring change.

When should you consider a lip augmentation procedure?

If you are in generally good health, the timing of a lip procedure is usually only limited by active infection (like cold sores), illness, and, with most methods, inability to quit smoking for the time around the procedure. One should also consider the side effects and involved recovery time when planning their experience.

Why should you consider lip augmentation?

Any cosmetic procedure is of course a highly personal decision, however, those with an interest in and commitment to enhancing their natural appearance through trusted and effective procedures should consider engaging the assistance of a professional to determine their best course of action. (2)

Professional Lip Augmentation Procedures

Lip Implants

Generally well tolerated with reasonable recovery time, most implants utilize your own tissues thereby minimizing risk of rejection. Safe and affordable, they are a good all-around option.

Lip Implants with Autologen

  • Overview: A procedure in which collagen is harvested from one portion of the body, sterilized and injected into the lip (it can also be stored in a cryochamber for up to five years). There is no risk of rejection as it is patient derived material.
  • Cost: $1,200 - $1,500
  • Recovery & Results: Patients will experience pain and swelling typical of any surgical procedure. Return to normal function is expected within seven days. Results are temporary, and require maintenance about every six months.

Lip Implants with Fat Transfer

  • Overview: Fat is removed from the buttocks, stomach, or thighs and injected into the lips. An outpatient procedure, it is minimally invasive and typically performed under local anesthesia.
  • Cost: $3,000 - $5,000
  • Recovery & Results: These injections usually last for six to 12 months, and there is a high chance of permanent integration given the patient's own tissue is utilized. Recovery is usually within 10 days.

Lip Implants with SMAS Implant

  • Overview: This procedure is performed in conjunction with a facelift when a surgeon is already harvesting from the deep facial tissue layer known as SMAS. The harvested tissue is injected into the lips for volume.
  • Cost: $5,000 - $8,000
  • Recovery & Results: Given the nature of the procedure patients can expect a longer recovery time generally ranging from one to two weeks with additional limitations on full activity for two to four weeks. The results are long lasting, natural, and do not carry a risk of rejection.

Lip Fillers

Relatively more affordable than implants, Lip Fillers utilize synthetic materials (like hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers such as Restylane® and Juvederm®), and can generally provide the same benefits of implants without surgery, however, they are not as guaranteed as surgical procedures to produce exacting results. (4)

Permanent Lip Filler

  • Overview: Involves lip injections of synthetic materials gradually every two to three months to avoid overcorrection while creating the perfect plumpness.
  • Cost: $500 - $1,000
  • Recovery & Results: A permanent solution to a fuller lip with about five days of recovery time. Higher risk of adverse events like nodules or granulomas.

Semi-Permanent Lip Filler

  • Overview: Similar to permanent injections, but require about one to two sessions for desired results. Uses slightly different injectables, which are still synthetic.
  • Cost: $500 - $1,000
  • Recovery & Results: Very similar to permanent fillers with variations only in permanence of results-these injections generally last one year.

Temporary Lip Filler

  • Overview: Can be performed easily in as little as half an hour. Results are immediate. This is a good choice for a person seeking subtle refinement to existing lip size.
  • Cost: $500 - $2,000 per lip
  • Recovery & Results: Lasts about six to 12 months with minimal recovery-some patients are able to return to normal activity the same day.

Lip Surgery

A more invasive, permanent procedure that generally has longer recovery times. There is also the risk of noticeable scarring from the small incisions made by the plastic surgeon. These operations, however, allow for more specificity and precision.

Vermilion Advancement

  • Overview: Incisions are made along the entire length of the vermillion border under general anesthesia. This procedure is ideal for patients with an elongated white lip or height mismatches between the red and white lip.
  • Cost: $3,000 - $4,500
  • Recovery & Results: Results are permanent, and recovery is typically one to two weeks. Both lips will appear more voluminous.

V-Y Mucosal Advancement

  • Overview: This procedure does not utilize injectables, instead incisions are made on the inner lip and the edges are re-sutured tighter to decrease space thereby increasing volume.
  • Cost: $4,000 - $6,000 per lip
  • Recovery & Results: Typical recovery is one to two weeks. Swelling is common and can be more prolonged than with other procedures, however, scarring is generally minimal as the incision is on the inner lip.

At-Home Lip Augmentation Treatments

For DIYers, a good collection of makeup and a steady hand can produce temporary, changeable augmentations. Over-drawing lip liners or applying lip plumping glosses and balms can be purchased inexpensively and trialed comfortably in your home.

The Takeaway

There is an extensive array of options for anyone considering a lip augmentation. Whether you are looking to trial a fuller lip look or commit to the ideal pout, there exists accessible and effective options for all circumstances.

Source List

(1) Tonnard, PL, et al. “Aging of the Upper Lip: Part II. Evidence-Based Rejuvenation of the Upper Lip-A Review of 500 Consecutive Cases.” Plast Reconstr Surg. , 14 May 2019, pp. 13333–1342.

(2) Ali, MJ, et al. “Perioral Rejuvenation and Lip Augmentation.” Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America, vol. 15, no. 4, Nov. 2007, pp. 491–500.

(3) Byrne, PJ, and Hilger, PA. “Lip Augmentation.” Facial Plast Surg, vol. 20, no. 1, 2004, pp. 31–38.

(4) Luthra, A. “Shaping Lips with Fillers.” J Cutan Aesthet Surg v.8(3); Jul-Sep 2015

(5) Kaminagakura E, Aparecida Rosa J, Rodarte Carvalho Y, Dias Almeida J. “Undesirable Effect of Cosmetic Lip augmentation with Autologous Fat Tissue.” BMC Res Notes. 2013; 6: 79.

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Different Types of Lip Augmentation Solutions

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