Most everyone agrees that thin lips are not attractive. Unfortunately as we grow older the cutaneous lip elongates, meaning the distance from the nose to the red part of the lip, called the lip or vermillion. When this happens, the lip, meaning the red part, turns in and thins. Notice how in a young person the upper teeth are much more visible than in someone in the forties or older. This is because the lip is fuller and cutaneous lip is shorter. The usual solution is to inject a product into the lips to fill them out. This is called a lip augmentation or enhancement. The most common product used in my practice is one of the hyaluronic acid products like Juvederm or Restylane. While Restylane is most commonly used under the eyes in my practice, I prefer the Juvederm UP (ultra plus) in the lips because of its longevity. It often lasts in excess of one year in that location. In other locations, such as the nasolabial creases and other areas of high animation, it may not last as long.
A new product that has recently come along is the PermaLip implant. It is a silicone implant for both the upper and lower lips. They come in different lengths and three different sizes. If one wants to be larger or smaller, they can be replaced with another size at any time or removed. These are a permanent solution to the thin lips, and both my patients and I think they look very natural. As in the injections mentioned above, a dental block is necessary for anesthesia. The PermaLip implants are inserted through a very small incision at the corner of the lips. The procedure takes about 20 minutes. Post-operatively, we suggest an ice pack for a few hours and minimal lip motion until the next day.