Expert Doctor

Lip Augmentation

Lip augmentation alters the appearance of the lips through lip fillers, fat grafting or lip implants. Patients who are not genetically blessed with naturally full lips can still gain plump lips. There are several different ways to make the lip look natural and proportionate to the patient’s face. Depending on the underlying concern for the patient, the answer could be anything from a simple injection to a surgical lip augmentation. Besides providing a full appearance to the lips, the procedure can also smooth out fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth.

Am I a Good Candidate for Lip Augmentation?

Patients who are GOOD CANDIDATES include:

  • Those who want a plumper pout
  • A person who wants to make the lips more proportional to the rest of the face
  • Patients looking to fill-in fine lines or wrinkles.

People who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES include:

  • Someone without reasonable expectations about the results of their treatment
  • People with scarring around the lip area
  • A person with certain medical conditions such as recurrent cold sores or diabetes or lupus

How is Lip Augmentation Performed?

The procedures that can be performed to provide lip augmentation include:

  • Lip Fillers – Injectable lip fillers give the lips a plump look in as little as 30 minutes. Collagen-based lip fillers include bovine-derived lip fillers extracted from the tissue of cows. There is a chance of an allergic reaction to bovine collagen so an allergy test is required prior to treatment. Human-derived collagen fillers are made from excess skin harvested during surgery or from cadavers. Since the collagen is derived from humans, there is no need for an allergy test before the treatment. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers come from a clear, biodegradable substance that occurs naturally in the body. Hyaluronic acid binds with water molecules after it is injected into the lips and this allows the filler to moisturize and plump the lips.
  • Fat Transfer – Lip augmentation with fat transfer uses the tissue from the own body of the patient. Fat is removed from one area of the body and is then injected into the lips. Since the natural tissue of the body is used, there is little chance of the body rejecting the fat. The fat that is removed is usually taken from the abdomen or thighs via liposuction. The fat is injected into the lips with a syringe and the injections only leave tiny prick marks in the treatment area.
  • Lip Implants – This treatment option provides permanent lip augmentation as well as more definition to the lips than lip fillers. The surgeon makes small incisions in the lips at the corners of the mouth. The surgeon also creates a thin tunnel to place the implant and create results that are natural looking. The surgeon then inserts the implant and threads it through the lip. Finally, the implant is trimmed to the desired length and the incisions are closed. GORE-TEX® lip implants have micropores through which the natural lip tissue grows in order to make the implants part of the lip structure. SoftForm lip implants have a tubular shape to allow tissue growth that provides anchoring and lessens the chance of migration. AlloDerm® is a lip implant made from donated human skin so it will not cause an allergic reaction.

Alternative Procedure

An upper lip lift treats the longevity of the upper lip located between the base of the columella and the pink area of the upper lip. An incision is made at the base of the nose and then excess skin is removed in order to lift, and shorten, the upper lip.

What is the Cost of Lip Augmentation?

The cost of lip augmentation varies according to the type of procedure performed, the area of the country where the treatment is located and any fees charged by the doctor or the facility. Fat transfer costs between $1500 to $4700 depending on how much fat is removed and whether general or local anesthesia is used. Lip implants run anywhere from $1500 to $3000. Lip fillers are priced by the amount of filler used as well as per syringe. In general, the cost per syringe is $1000-$1200.

Recovery and Downtime

RECOVERY after lip augmentation usually requires very little time. Many patients who have undergone lip augmentation return to their normal routine within a day. The length of the recovery process depends on the specific type of lip augmentation procedure performed. After any type of lip enhancement procedure, patients can expect some swelling and bruising. The selling and bruising can last about a week if fillers or fat transfer are performed and up to three weeks if lip implants are placed. Any DOWNTIME is minimal and rarely requires management with prescription medication.


The results of lip augmentation can be seen immediately even through any swelling and bruising may obscure the results. Fat transfer can take some time before the final results are seen since any injected fat must integrate with the current residing fat. In addition, some of the fat may not survive the transfer and will be naturally absorbed by the body. However, the fat that remains will be a permanent addition and the results will look natural. Repeat injections may be necessary to gain the desired outcome. Lip fillers show fuller lips right after an injection. Lip filler results last between 3-12 months depending on the type of filler used and the amount of filler injected. The body will end up naturally absorbing the material so repeat injections are needed to maintain the results. Lip implant results are permanent although there is a chance that the implant can migrate to another area of the lips.

Limitations of Lip Augmentation

Some of the limitations of lip augmentation include:

  • The amount of lip augmentation that can be achieved while still maintaining a natural appearance
  • Some fillers might not be an option for patients as they may be allergic to them
  • Lip implants may eventually move out of place and be more noticeable to others
  • Risks of Lip Augmentation
  • Common risks of lip augmentation include:
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Allergic reaction
  • Implant migration
  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Lip asymmetry
  • Lumps and irregularities in the lips.
  • Infection

How to Choose a Doctor

Doctors almost never specialize exclusively in lip augmentation. Patients should seek out a doctor that specializes in dermatology or facial plastic surgery in order to find someone who can produce the best results. Visiting someone who doesn’t have proven results significantly increases the likelihood of complications. Patients should not choose their doctor based on price. They should be focused on the quality of the work that the doctor does. Anyone can have beautiful lips as long as they visit the right doctor and go in with a clear idea of what they want. Patients should remember that “big” does not necessarily equal “good.” Instead, they should focus on achieving proportionate lips that don’t look overly “inflated.”


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview provided by Dr. Misbah Khan of MKhan Dermatology in New York, NY.