Lip Fillers or Lip Reshaping Surgery: Factors to Consider Before Making a Decision

Posted by Andre Panossian, MD

For individuals considering plastic surgery procedures, Dr. Panossian can provide guidance to help them make the best decision.

In the realm of cosmetic enhancements, lip augmentation has become a popular choice for individuals seeking to enhance their facial aesthetics. Two common procedures for lip augmentation are lip fillers and lip reshaping surgery.

Each procedure comes with its own set of benefits and potential drawbacks, and understanding these can help individuals make an informed decision about which method is best suited to their needs and aesthetic goals.

Understanding Lip Fillers

Lip fillers, or lip injections, are a non-surgical method of lip augmentation. This procedure involves injecting dermal fillers into the lips to increase fullness, smooth lines and wrinkles, and correct any drooping of the corners of the mouth. Various dermal lip fillers are common that use hyaluronic acid, such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Belotero. Also, individuals can undergo a fat transfer using the patient’s own harvested fat from another area can be performed.

Pros and Cons of Lip Fillers

One of the main advantages of lip fillers is that they offer a non-invasive method of lip augmentation, with the procedure taking place in-office after the application of a topical anesthetic cream. The results can be seen almost immediately, and the procedure itself is relatively quick, usually taking less than an hour.

However, lip filler treatments do come with some potential downsides. The results of lip fillers are temporary, with the natural filler typically being reabsorbed by the body within 6-12 months. This means that to maintain the enhanced appearance of the lips, regular follow-up treatments will be necessary. The procedure can also cause some temporary swelling and bruising, although these usually subside within a week.

Lip Reshaping Surgery Explained

Lip reshaping surgery, also known as a lip lift, is a surgical method of lip augmentation. This procedure is often chosen by individuals with a long, sagging upper lip, a common occurrence as collagen production and lip volume decrease with age.

A lip lift surgery shortens the space between the nose and the upper lip and slightly flips the colored part of the top lip outward, creating a subtle, natural-looking pout that appears larger and fuller than before. This procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia in an office setting.

Pros and Cons of Lip Reshaping Surgery

Lip reshaping surgery offers a more permanent solution to enhance the appearance of the lips. This surgical procedure is particularly beneficial for individuals with a long upper lip. The lip lift procedure shortens the distance between the nose and the upper lip, and flips the colored part of the top lip outward, creating a more youthful and fuller appearance.

However, as with any surgical procedure, lip reshaping surgery comes with potential downsides. The recovery period is typically longer than that of lip fillers, with stitches usually removed 5-7 days post-procedure and swelling and bruising subsiding within two weeks.

Permanent Solution vs. Temporary Results

When comparing injectable fillers and lip augmentation surgery, one of the key factors to consider is the longevity of the results. Lip fillers are a temporary cosmetic solution, with the body typically reabsorbing the filler. This means that to maintain the enhanced appearance of the lips, regular follow-up treatments are necessary.

On the other hand, the lip augmentation procedure offers a more permanent surgical solution. Once it is performed, barring any significant changes in collagen levels or lip volume with age, the improved appearance of the lips will last indefinitely.

Recovery and Downtime for Different Procedures

The recovery period and downtime can vary significantly between lip fillers and lip reshaping surgery. Lip fillers are a non-surgical procedure, and while there may be some temporary swelling and bruising, these typically subside within a week. This means that individuals can return to their regular activities relatively quickly after the procedure.

Lip reshaping surgery, being a surgical procedure, requires a longer recovery period. Once the stitches have been removed following the initial healing, the swelling and bruising will steadily subside over time as the healing process continues. During this time, individuals may need to take time off work or other activities to allow for proper healing.

Recovery time for lip reshaping surgery is typically longer than that of lip fillers.
Lip reshaping surgery can give lips a more natural shape and appearance.

Assessing the Risks

As with any cosmetic procedure, both lip filler injections and lip reshaping surgery come with potential risks. For lip fillers, these can include temporary swelling and bruising, as well as the risk of an allergic reaction to the filler material. There is also the possibility of the filler being injected unevenly, resulting in an asymmetrical appearance.

Lip reshaping surgery, being a surgical procedure, comes with additional risks such as infection, scarring, and changes in sensation. As with any surgical procedure, there is also the risk of complications from anesthesia. It is important to discuss these potential risks with your surgeon before deciding on the procedure.

Reversibility: Can You Go Back?

An important consideration when weighing lip injections versus lip reshaping surgery is reversibility. As a non-invasive treatment, lip fillers can generally be reversed by injecting the enzyme hyaluronidase, though results may not fully restore the original lip appearance.

In contrast, surgical lip augmentation is more permanent and not as easily undone. While some corrections are possible if unhappy with the results, these require additional procedures. Thoroughly discussing expectations and potential outcomes with an experienced plastic surgeon is crucial before choosing irreversible lip reshaping surgery.

Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of reversible versus permanent enhancement is wise when planning lip augmentation.

Considering Other Facial Features That Could Be Enhanced with a Combination Approach

When considering lip enhancement, it’s important to evaluate the balance and proportion of your overall facial features. Enhancing the lips alone may not provide the desired outcome. For instance, if the upper lip sits low on the face, a lip lift procedure could be more appropriate than fillers.

Similarly, lack of volume in areas like the cheeks or under the eyes may warrant combining the lip enhancement procedure with other facial procedures for a harmonious result. Some individuals can benefit from a combination approach, such as lip injection treatment, lip reshaping surgery, cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty, or chin augmentation.

A consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon can determine the best plan based on your individual goals and facial anatomy.

Making the Right Choice for You

Ultimately, the decision between lip injections and lip reshaping surgery should be based on your individual needs, aesthetic goals, and comfort level with the procedures. Both cosmetic options have their own set of advantages and potential drawbacks, and it’s important to weigh these factors carefully.

Consider the longevity of the results, the recovery time, and the potential risks associated with each procedure. Also, think about the reversibility of the procedure and the potential for enhancing other facial features for a more balanced look.

If you’d like assistance in making this decision, consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Panossian. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, he will be able to guide you through both procedures so you can make the best decision. To schedule your consultation, please contact us at 626-765-6885.

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