1) I have very thin lips. Can you make them bigger (fuller)?
Lip enlargement is achieved through a variety of procedures including fat injection, dermal fat graft, Alloderm® and V-Y lip advancement. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. Details about each enhancement surgery are listed below. Determining which approach is best for you is achieved by learning a little about each alternative and clarifying your objectives. Consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon for his or her evaluation and expert recommendations will help reveal the plan that is best for you.
Dermal Fat Graft
V-Y Lip Advancement
2) Will lip augmentation help with the wrinkles around my mouth?
Lip augmentation or reduction is a change in the size of the lips. To improve the wrinkles and lines around the mouth, one would more apt to be thinking of a skin resurfacing procedure. Skin resurfacing is the removal of the outer layer of the skin – using abrasion, chemicals or a laser – resulting in smoother, younger-looking skin with less wrinkles such as crows feet, face lines, lines around the mouth and laugh lines. Skin resurfacing is one of the most popular rejuvenation procedures because often the results enhance one’s natural beauty. Skin resurfacing results in a more youthful appearance. See our before-and-after skin resurfacing photographs.
Other options for patients who want improvement in their lips but aren’t ready for cosmetic surgery can be found in the Lindsay House Medical Spa. Botox and Collagen implant are just two of the many ways to maximize your beauty temporarily until you are ready for cosmetic surgery.
3) My lips are too big. Can you make them smaller?
Yes, most of the time we can reduce the size of the lips with a brief, outpatient surgery. While every patient’s request is unique, looking at some Before and After Photos is a good place to start.
Requests for lip reduction can be a result of congenital disease such as Melkerson Rosenthal Syndrome and most commonly as a result of an asymmetry of the lips, typically the lower lip larger than the upper lip. In this situation, lip reduction can be a challenging reconstructive surgery.
Reduction generally involves an elliptical incision where the wet lip meets the dry lip (along the mucocutaneous junction). The incision is well camouflaged and the results are quite satisfying. Patients are aware prior to the procedure that swelling can be excessive in the first week but then settles. Results are typically presentable by two to three weeks postoperatively. Sutures are removed on the fifth postoperative day. Activity restrictions include refraining from three weeks of athletic activity. Due to refinements that take place as the body heals, the final result is not to be determined for one year.
4) I want to dramatically change the appearance of my lips. Can I do that?
This is an excellent question because it leads to evaluating realistic expectations. This question can only be answered on an individual basis. A sign of a good facial plastic surgeon is one who can tell the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations and one who will be truthful about meeting each patient’s desires. Our biggest referral source is from satisfied patients – ones who have had realistic expectations and were satisfied with results.
5) Will I be awake during surgery?
Using IV sedation (medicine administered through an IV) and a local anesthetic (numbing medication administered in the operating room), patients are asleep during surgery. Patients do not hear or feel anything and are comfortable during surgery. Patients wake up very soon after the operation is completed. Intravenous sedation is a type of anesthesia; therefore all patients must have a responsible adult to stay with them through the night following surgery. Patients may not drive for 24 hours after their procedure and this time may be longer, depending on the procedure.
6) Is it painful?
After any surgical procedure, some discomfort can be expected. All patients are provided with prescriptions for pain medication. Patients typically use the prescription medication after surgery for a few days and then switch to Extra Strength Tylenol. It is uncommon for patients to report unmanageable pain after surgery.
7) How long does my surgery take?
The length of surgery depends on several factors including the size, location and complexity of the underlying anatomy. Many patients who have previously had facial plastic surgery are referred to the Lindsay House for revision surgery. Revision surgery can take a little longer because of corrections that need to be made as a result of the initial surgery.
8) Can I drive myself home after surgery?
NO. Because of the effects of anesthesia, patients are not able to drive themselves home after the surgery. Transportation and a responsible adult at home following surgery is required.
9) How long will bruising and swelling last?
Postoperative bruising and swelling begins to resolve at the end of the first week. Full resolution of swelling and puffiness may take two to four weeks. Any residual bruises camouflage fairly easily at seven to ten days with make-up.
10) When can I go back to work?
Most patients take one week off work but patients who are more concerned with privacy return after two weeks. Return to work depends on many factors including the nature of your occupation and your general state of health. Patients are asked to avoid any heavy lifting, bending and straining for two weeks following surgery.
11) When can I “work out?”
Aerobic activities should be avoided for two weeks following surgery and heavy weight lifting or more strenuous workouts should be avoided for three weeks postoperatively. As we mentioned above, it’s important to avoid bending, lifting or straining during the postoperative period as these activities can increase swelling and delay healing.
12) I really want to do this but I’m nervous. What if I get stressed?
It’s ok to be nervous. (Frankly, we would be nervous if you were taking this step lightly!) One of the best ways to deal with nervousness is to see what other patients have gone through. Contact Us to talk to a patient who has had the procedures you are considering or to talk to one of our experienced staff members. As you learn in Selecting a Surgeon an educated patient knows when and if the time is right for cosmetic surgery.