Beautiful, full, pouty lips are considered youthful. One of the natural consequences of facial aging is the loss of normal lip volume causing a deflated appearance with wrinkling. There are many misconceptions regarding attractive lips that seem to have found their way into the social consciousness due to plastic surgery results that seem to have gone awry. Merely increasing the size or the amount of vermillion show (red portion of the lips) does not make lips youthful or attractive. In fact, exaggerated lips seem to invoke the opposite response much like the overdone rhinoplasty, facelift, or breast augmentation. It should be clear that exaggerated plastic surgery is a choice, not a necessity. Plastic surgery has progressed do the point where overdone is not mandatory and we Plastic Surgeons should question not what we can do but what we should do. Because a patient asks for bad plastic surgery doesn’t mean we are obliged to do it. Our role should be to educate those who ask for things we know are unattractive and if no common ground can be negotiated, no surgery should be performed.
There are details commonly associated with youthful lips that are easy to achieve as long as you know what you are trying to achieve. Full lips are youthful, grossly inflated lips are not attractive and reek of bad Plastic Surgery. Full lips require replacing the lost lip fullness with natural material such as fat. There are numerous off-the-shelf graft materials that seem easy to use, but as foreign materials they present a multitude of problems that make the result less than perfect. Autologous fat taken from the abdomen or hips, when properly processed, provides the best graft material for lip augmentation. Increasing lip volume causes some increased vermillion show (red portion of lips) seen from the front as well as increased “pout” as seen from the side. The increased volume must be apportioned so that they appear fuller and pouty. Other aspects of the beautiful lip include definition of the white roll, fully visible philtral columns, and important for a natural look, a lower lip that is slightly fuller than the upper lip. These nuances are not obtained by luck, but rather because of detailed surgical planning using the correct filler material. The results should be apparent immediately and should last a lifetime. Continued aging may lead to the need for touch-up grafting after several years even though the transferred fat, once healed, is permanent even though the lips are a highly mobile area of the face. Any perceived problems with graft “take” are generally due to poor harvesting of the fat and inadequate processing of the harvested fat. One should expect to have the fullness lost since the teenage years. It can be helpful for your Plastic Surgeon to see high school photos for reference.
Dr. Howard has been a world leader in fat grafting for over 25 years. Patients travel from all over the world for his fat grafting mastery to rejuvenate their appearance, or fat grafting for reconstructive procedures due to injury or birth defects. To learn more about fat grafting for lip enhancement, facial rejuvenation, or cosmetic hand rejuvenation please visit: