Lip filler can be an effective cosmetic treatment in adding volume and definition to your lips. Typically, there are two types of people seeking lip filler but the underlying reason is usually cosmetic. On one hand, there are the younger generation looking to keep up with recent trends of ‘plumpifying’ the size of their lips. On the other, we have a more mature group of patients who recognise that their lips have lost volume over time. The steps involved in addressing both parties are the same – lip filler.
Lip augmentation using dermal filler is a very specialised field and the results can be outstanding. The aim should be to balance the lips and add volume proportionately so that results look natural and subtle.
The most commonly used brands of dermal filler for lips that give the best results are Juvéderm Volbella® and Restylane Silk® however each practitioner has their own preference. All fillers used for lips should be hyaluronic acid-based and last up to 12-months.
As a general rule, you should only get a maximum of 1ml injected at any given session. Remember, the best results are achieved over multiple sittings over the course of a few months once the swelling has come down and the tissues have had time adjust to the filler. Swelling typically takes 2-weeks to come down.
The procedure itself takes 15-20 minutes to perform with no down-time. Topical numbing cream or local anaesthetic injection can be used to help manage your pain as the lips are a highly sensitive area. Most dermal fillers come ready mixed with 0.3% lidocaine (the numbing agent in local anaesthetic) which further helps control any pain.
In the unlikely event of an adverse reaction, dermal filler can be dissolved using a special enzyme called Hyaluronidase. This is a prescription only agent and so it is important you seek a medically qualified practitioner with the ability to prescribe.
How do lip fillers work?
Lip filler consists of hyaluronic acid – which is a gel like substance identical to the protein that is naturally present in our skin. It is skilfully injected, just millimetres below the skin, and results in attracting water molecules to it. This gives rise to an increase in volume to provide fuller, more plumper looking lips.
Not only can they be used to add volume, but they can also be used to address any asymmetry from natural deformities such as cleft palate.
What does the procedure involve?
Your practitioner will first assess the basic structure of your lips. Filler is added into three key areas using a variety of techniques.
- The vermillion border – to add definition along the border of the lips
- The body of the lip – to add volume to the body of the lips
- The philtrum – to add definition at the cupids bow
In order to achieve the best results, practitioners will use either a cannula (a blunt needle) or a small needle to access these areas. Some practitioners will use a combination of both depending on your anatomy and their preference.
The lips are one of the most sensitive areas of the face and so anaesthetic is necessary. Topical numbing cream can be used or a dental block using local anaesthetic.
Watch the treatment video below by Dr Van der Aa to see what is involved in the procedure. The patient in the video below was treated using a cannula and so only two entry points were needed.
From point of entry to massaging the lips, the treatment takes 15-20 minutes and results are instant.
The Lip Scale
As part of empowering you into making an informed decision, use the lip scale as a reference point. This is a great tool to help gauge where your lips are currently and where you want to go. As you progress up the different stages (I-V), you require a minimum of 1ml of lip filler to achieve the next stage.
How long do the effects last?
The effects last an average of 12 months before the filler is naturally resorbed by the body.
The filler can also be dissolved using a special prescription only enzyme known as Hyaluronidase which breaks hyaluronic acid down in 24-hours.
Recovery after your treatment is immediate. You can genuinely go back to work the same day. What you tell your boss is up to you.
You might experience the following, and if present, here are some great tips in managing them.
- Bruising – This can sometimes happen, especially if you are on blood thinning medication like Warfarin. To help, you can apply some Arnica cream.
- Mild pain – Not common but if experienced, Paracetamol is your go to. Do not go over the recommended dose. If Paracetamol is not helping, get in touch with your practitioner for a review as there might be another cause for the pain that needs addressing.
- Swelling – After any application of dermal filler, some swelling is expected. An ice pack can help but take care in the first 24 hours where it is recommended you do not touch the site of injection.
Most of these symptoms resolve after 3-5 days following treatment. If they last any longer, we recommend you contact your practitioner.
Please note, if you develop any blue/grey discolouring of your skin, severe pain/swelling, any skin changes or changes in vision in the minutes/hours after treatment, contact your practitioner urgently to seek some medical advice.
The serious stuff
Following your treatment, it is important to be aware of certain signs and symptoms which may need urgent medical attention. These rarely occur but we want you to be well informed. If these arise, it is vital you contact your medically qualified practitioner for advice.
- Infection – If you develop a fever, redness of the skin, warmth of the skin or any itchiness around the area injected – it could mean you have an infection. This is easily treated with a course of oral antibiotics. If you have a history of cold sores, injectable treatment might cause a outbreak. As a preventative measure, your practitioner will prescribe you a course of oral anti-viral medication before your treatment.
- Allergic Reaction – In the minutes/hours following treatment, if you develop severe swelling, itchiness, puffiness around the eyes, any difficulty in breathing – this could indicate a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. If these symptoms occur, it is important to seek urgent medical attention through A&E. You will also need your dermal filler to be dissolved using Hyaluronidase.
- Vascular Occlusion – This occurs if dermal filler accidentally enters a blood vessel. Although rare, symptoms include grey/blue discolouration of the skin and severe pain, If present, urgently contact your practitioner as the only way to treat this is by dissolving the filler. In even rarer circumstances, the occlusion can affect your vision. If you notice any changes, it is vital you go to your nearest eye hospital and also contact your practitioner to meet you there.
Get pout of here
- Active skin infection on the face/planned injection area eg Cellulitis
- Known allergy/hypersensitivity to hyaluronic acid based dermal filler
- Known allergy/hypersensitivity to lidocaine (local anaesthetic agent)
- Currently pregnant
- Previous history of glabellar skin necrosis (previous vascular occlusion around the forehead following dermal filler injection)
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries regarding contraindications to treatment.
How much are we talking?
Lip fillers are usually charged by the ml. The minimum that can be injected is 0.5ml and prices start at £150 with 1ml starting at £200. The cost for lip fillers can go in excess of £400 per ml depending on the practitioner and other factors such as the brand of dermal filler used. Some brands are more expensive than others.
Let me fvce some professionals
We only on-board medically qualified aesthetic practitioners who have been vetted by us. Simply click the link below to find a practitioner in your area and book online. After booking, you can communicate with them through e-consultations on the platform to address any concerns you might have.