A lack of fullness in the red lip or crease lines along the lip margin and up into the white lip can be treated by injectable fillers (collagen injections, hyaluronic acid, Restylane® and others) but usually the effect does not last much more than 3-6 months. There are alternative forms of treatment. It is possible to use a small strip of your own dermis, a small amount of your own fatty tissue, an Alloderm® graft or an implant under the skin of your lips to produce the required degree of fullness, and this can also improve the crease lines.
Other options that current technology offers are permanent injectable synthetic filler, I prefer to use the natural body tissues for this purpose.
Skin is made up of two layers, a thin surface layer of epidermis which includes the pigment layer of the skin, and then a deeper thicker layer of dermis which gives the strength and thickness to the skin. It is the thicker dermis, which can be grafted in to build up the thickness and contour of the lip skin, and this often lasts 2-3 years although there is a more permanent solution with an implant. The fat graft varies in duration between 6 months and many years with fat becoming part of the lips living tissue. Long-term results have proved to be very satisfactory and can give an extremely natural appearance.
The operation can be done both under general or a local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation, and on a day case basis so that you do not need to stay overnight in hospital. If a dermis graft is used this is inserted through a very small incision on the inner aspect of your lip, so that these are not visible at any time.
Initially after the procedure it is anticipated that the lip will became swollen or bruised, this settles in 2-3 weeks down to the final enhanced appearance.
There is usually very little or no pain.
Temporary numbness and swelling are anticipated side effects. Complications of this procedure are rare in occurrence: Infection may require antibiotics or surgical removal of a dermis graft or an implant.
After the operation you will be visited while in hospital by myself normally or otherwise a member of my team in order to ensure a personal and confidential programme of after care. I can be contacted through my secretary or -out of hours- the Hospital switchboard should the need arise.
It is important to note that a more in detail discussion about the operation and possible complications adjusted to your specific needs takes place during consultation.