My lips are too
thin! My lips are too big! I want better lip proportion to
balance my thin upper lip with my full lower lip. Whichever
of these comments you can relate to, you will not feel alone
after reading our most frequently asked questions about lips
FAQ: Lips. We have combined dozens of questions including
questions on fillers such as fat injections, dermal fat
grafts, Alloderm and V-Y lip advancementfrom many patients
over the years that were at one time considering a change
just as you are now. If you are seeking information on the
tiny lines around the mouth and lips, you will also find
useful information at FAQ Dermabrasion and Skin Resurfacing.
For nonsurgical procedures that enhance lip beauty see also
Botox and Collagen.
Many patients want to eliminate a tired look or "frown" in
the lip area. Some want to elevate the "saggy" corners of
the mouth and restore a younger appearance. Other patients
want to eliminate wrinkles around the lips so that lipstick
doesn't "run." Most of all, patients want improvements in
the lip area to look natural.
Lip augmentation and lip reduction are performed to restore
a more naturally youthful appearance and less fatigued look
while maintaining your unique features and natural facial
animation. Once thought a beauty procedure sought by only
wealthy women, men in today's competitive corporate
workplace are increasingly seeking cosmetic surgery to
restore a younger look and soften the appearance of aging.
When discussing procedures that enhance the lip area, the
best place to start is by looking at before and after
photographs to see just what can be accomplished. As you
will see in the photos, patients frequently ask to combine
procedures such as liposuction to obtain fat to be used for
fat injections in the lip area. If the corners of the mouth
are a concern, a facelift or midface lift elevates "laugh
lines" from their downward position and achieve a smoother
contour of the jowl area. Many patients seek information
about improving superficial wrinkles and imperfections in
the skin around the lips with dermabrasion, chemical peel or
laser resurfacing. Other requests to combine cosmetic
surgery with lip surgery include blepharoplasty (eyelid
lift), chin implants, cheek implants, rhinoplasty (nasal
surgery), otoplasty (ear surgery) and browlift.
An experienced surgeon, knows that his responsibility is to
evaluate not only the areas of concern but also the
motivation behind the requests. It goes without saying,
plumper lips won't save a failing marriage. Some patients
not ready for facial plastic surgery are better served with
conservative measures, such as Botox for fine lines and
wrinkles or Collagen for plumping lips and filling in tiny
lines around the mouth. Patients who educate themselves
about facial rejuvenation know when and if the time is right
Whether you seek information on lip enhancement or lip
reduction, preparation and aftercare for most all lip
plastic surgery has many similarities. Lip augmentation and
lip reduction are safe, effective procedures performed to
restore a more youthful appearance. Once thought a beauty
procedure sought by only wealthy women, men in today's
competitive corporate workplace are increasingly seeking
At your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate the
bony and soft tissue architecture as well as the form and
function of the head and neck. An overall assessment of the
face provides the basis for what one may expect from lip
surgery. Skin type, ethnic background and age, along with
the degree of deformity and function are important factors
influencing the outcome of surgery.
As with all facial plastic surgery, a thorough health
assessment and realistic expectations are prerequisites.
Your understanding of procedures and routines is essential
to a successful final result.
At your preoperative appointment our nurse will provide all
the instructions for you to follow before and after surgery.
On the business day prior to your operation we ask you to
call to confirm your arrival time for surgery. Upon arrival
for your surgery, you will talk with a nurse (who will start
an IV), discuss local anesthesia with IV sedation (you will
be asleep and comfortable for your surgery), and meet with
your doctor before going to the operating room. Most lip
procedures can be done with local anesthesia under IV
sedation so you are asleep and comfortable at all times
during the procedure. Lip surgery takes between one to two
hours depending on the amount of change desired. If you are
having a combination of procedures your surgery time will
take longer. Recovery from the anesthetic takes about an
hour and most patients are discharged about four to five
hours from the time of admission.
Please avoid any aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or
ibuprofen for one week prior to and two weeks following your
surgery. See our "Medication List" for products to avoid
prior to surgery. If you are on any medications that affects
bleeding (such as coumadin or warfarin) please notify the
Please refrain from tobacco products and alcohol for one
week prior and three weeks following surgery. Along with
delayed wound healing, persistent skin redness and other
complications may persist when tobacco and alcohol are not
Please notify us of all routine medications and significant
health history including any history of "cold sores." We ask
that you remain on your daily medications unless instructed
otherwise. At the preoperative appointment, our nurse will
tell you which daily medications to take with just a sip of
water on the morning of surgery.
At your preoperative appointment you will be given
prescriptions for use following surgery including an oral
antibiotic and pain medications. Please obtain these
prescription medications before your surgery so you will
have them ready for use after surgery.
We will also ask you to take Vitamin C (ascorbic acid),
which helps promote healing, before and after surgery.
You may not eat or drink after midnight the evening before
the procedure unless instructed otherwise. You may brush
your teeth. Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not
follow these instructions.
Remove all make-up and nail polish before arriving for your
However, someone must be available at all times while you
are here at the clinic for surgery. Someone will need to
drive you home after your surgery and stay with you that
evening. Transportation to the office for packing removal
the day following surgery is also required.
After Lip Augmentation
When you wake up from surgery you will notice that your lips
are very swollen. This swelling will subside over the next
two weeks. There will be ointment on your lips to keep them
moist. If you had lip augmentation, you may have a small
dressing on the "donor" site where the "filler" was
obtained. Following your lip procedure, the nurses will ask
assist you to meet the discharge criteria: to drink liquids,
walk with a steady gait, void, manage your discomfort, and
monitor your wounds. The nurses will review all instructions
you will need for care following your lip procedure.
You will be asked to come to the office the following day
after surgery for a check-up. If you have sutures, you will
be asked to return through the office in five days for
suture removal. Although most patients describe suture
removal as discomfort rather than pain, you are encouraged
to take your pain medication about an hour prior to suture
Keep your lips moist with the ointment as instructed. Keep
any "donor site" dressings dry and intact the evening after
surgery. Notify your doctor if the dressing becomes loose or
falls off. Our nurses will instruct you on wound care.
Cleaning the suture with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide
and then applying the antibiotic ointment twice a day is an
essential part of the healing process.
Most patients complain of discomfort more than pain. Use
pain medication as directed/as needed. Do not drive or drink
alcohol while taking pain medication. Taking pain medication
with food helps minimize nausea sometimes associated with
Start your antibiotic (Keflex/cephalexin) when you get home
and one at bedtime. It is not uncommon to have a low-grade
fever for 24 hours following surgery.
Start swelling medication (prednisolone) when you arrive
home and at bedtime. Then follow package directions. Take
Take Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which helps promote healing,
before and after surgery. Take Arnica, a natural herb that
significantly decreases bruising, as directed.
Avoid dairy products for five days following lip surgery.
Advance diet from liquids to soft food (oatmeal, French
toast, soup, pasta) to your regular diet as tolerated.
Rest for entire day after surgery. Sleep with head of
the bed elevated or use two to three pillows for one week
after surgery. Absolutely no bending, lifting or straining.
If you have little children, bend at the knees or sit on the
floor and let them climb on to your lap. No driving for one
week following surgery. Two weeks off work is recommended.
After 24 hours, keep incisions dry except for cleaning and
ointment. Bathing is ok as long as you don't get your
incisions wet. You are encouraged to shower and wash your
hair in the morning before coming for suture removal
(usually postop day five). Bruising can be camouflaged at
one week postoperatively with make-up. Always protect your
face from the sun. At this point, a hat and sunglasses are a
good idea. Following surgery, our staff will tell you when
it is ok to apply sunscreen, cosmetics or facial creams.
Avoid unprotected prolonged sun exposure for three months
following lip procedures to prevent pigmentation of incision
Your first postoperative appointment will be on the next
morning following surgery. Sutures will be removed
approximately five days following your surgery. You will
need transportation to and from these appointments. For the
first ten days following surgery, please use our private
side entrance (driveway entrance).
Swelling, bruising and disrupted sleep are very normal
postoperative symptoms and will decrease as the healing
process occurs. Assistance with daily activities the first
two to three days after surgery is strongly recommended.
Following lip procedures, it takes time for the swelling to
subside and for the skin to heal. Most patients return to
work two weeks following surgery, however three weeks is
ideal, depending on the degree of privacy one is trying to
maintain. At three weeks postoperatively, swelling and
bruising may be apparent to you but not to many of your
coworkers and closest friends.
Final results following a lip procedure are not apparent for
one full year following surgery. After three months, the
changes are ever so subtle, although still important. Being
perfectionists about our work, you may tell us you are
pleased long before the one year anniversary. However, we
request that you follow-up with us at that time for
postoperative photographs and so that we can enjoy your