augmentation creates fuller, plumper lips and
reduces fine wrinkles around the mouth. Lips may
be injected with collagen or with fat transferred
from another site in the patient’s body.
Both liquid collagen and fat are absorbed and
repeat treatments are necessary to maintain results.
Newer, longer-lasting options include implantable
materials like AlloDerm and SoftForm.
A natural or synthetic biocompatible material,
or the patient’s own fat, is injected or
implanted in the lips. One injection is usually
sufficient to produce the desired result, which
may be temporary, depending on the material used.
Injections may need to be repeated periodically.
Proper placement of the injected material is important.
AlloDerm, a natural collagen sheet made from donated
skin, is inserted through tiny incisions inside
the corners of the mouth. Once the AlloDerm implant
is in place, it eventually becomes integrated
with the natural tissues. Gore-Tex, SoftForm and
soft ePTFE are other synthetic implant options.
• Autologen—injectable dermal implant
material made from the patient’s own skin.
• Dermalogen—injectable Human Tissue
Matrix (HTM) procured from donor tissue.
• Fascia—injectable donor tissue made
from the dense white connective tissue that supports
body structure. Can also be done as a surgical
• HylaForm—injectable donor tissue
made up of a molecular component of the human
• Radiance — calcium hydroxylapatite
• Restylane—crystal-clear injectable
gel; the hyaluronic acid in Restylane is very
close to that naturally found in the body.
Another augmentation choice is laser lip rejuvenation,
which tightens the natural collagen and elastic
tissue beneath the lips.
• Immediate return to normal activities
(one-day return if sedated) for nonsurgical procedures;
depending on the procedure and materials used,
recovery period is within a week for surgical
• AlloDerm and Dermalogen do not require
patients to provide donor tissue and are not rejected
by the body, because they are human tissue. Usually
they have a pliable, natural feel.
• Gore-Tex implants are permanent, easily
inserted and well tolerated by the body.
• Temporary procedures like collagen or
fat injection can be appealing to patients who
want to experiment with a fuller-lipped look,
but not necessarily commit to it.
• Allergic reactions can range from prolonged
redness, swelling or itching, to firmness at the
injection site. Other possible complications include
bleeding, lip asymmetry, and migration and extrusion
of the implant. Normal swelling and bruising lasts
from three days to a week.
• Patients with a reaction to the pre-treatment
collagen skin test; who have a serious allergy
history; or are allergic to lidocaine (a local
anesthetic) should not consider lip augmentation.
Treatment is sometimes postponed for patients
with active inflammatory skin conditions or with
• Collagen injections have a short-lived
effect (9-12 weeks); fat injections provide longer-lasting
results, but are sometimes unpredictable as to
the degree of improvement, can have lumping or
scarring effects, and must be harvested from another
part of the body.
Soft-form is a foreign body and may become infected
or be rejected. While many techniques exist for
lip augmentation, none are ideal.