Facelift: A Promising Lip Augmentation Technique?

Posted November 02, 2016

Cosmetic surgery that is performed to lift sagging jowls and cheeks often involves the removal of tissue during the procedure. Proving that recycling even applies to human tissue; doctors are now making use of the removed tissue to plump the lips of patients having surgery.

Clinical Study on Lip Augmentation via Facelift

A study led by Dr. Matthew Richardson, a plastic surgeon in Frisco, Texas, showed that five years after having a facelift followed by lip augmentation, the patients were still in possession of fuller lips. However, the results were not as large more than years after the facelift.

According to Dr. Richardson, the technique gives facelift patients the opportunity to use tissue that would otherwise be discarded as a means to plump their lips. The doctor went on to note that plumping the lips in combination with the facelift has minimal complications risks. However, Richardson did note that patients who underwent a facelift at an earlier date are normally not candidates for this procedure because the tissue utilized for the lip augmentation is usually removed during the first facelift surgery.

The study focused on a technique that plumps the lips using tissue removed from the superficial musculoaponeurotic system, or SMAS, which is a tissue layer under the skin on the face. In order to determine the safety and effectiveness of the procedure, the research team studied 60 people over a period of almost five years. The patients, as well as photos spotlighting levels of plumpness retained by the lips over time, were studied and examined for any complications. Out of all of the patients in the study, only two required treatment for complications. One patient needed help to relieve swelling and the other one needed some nodules removed according to the report published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Even so, the study should reassure patients who choose this procedure that it can be done safely and have lasting effects. The study speaks to the longevity of the results. This is the first time the procedure has been proven to last for at least five years with little to no complications.

Facelift Lip Augmentation Isn't for Everyone

As promising as the procedure seems, it's been said that not everyone is qualified to go through with it. Richardson added, “Patients who have previously had a facelift are usually not candidates for this procedure because the tissue that is used for the lip augmentation is often removed at the time of the first facelift operation.” This limitation of the procedure is important because facelift is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the world. Reports show that over 30\\% of cosmetic surgery patients have undergone a facelift at least once in their lifetime. Even though this limitation prevents a lot of people from being ideal candidates for the procedure, appearance tweaks like this are gaining in popularity. Last year there were 15.9-million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures done in the United States. This is a 2\\% increase from the previous year and more than twice the number from the year 2000 (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons). So it wouldn't be surprising to see patients that have already had a facelift eventually become suitable candidates for this procedure.

Results from the Facelift Lip Augmentation Study

The results from the patients showed the lower and upper lips were both fuller at the three month and one year marks. The augmentation was even still apparent at the five-year mark as opposed to how the lips appeared before the patients had lip augmentation along with the facelifts. These results were seen in photos from 26 patients picked to be part of a subset of the study.

Facelift Lip Augmentation Limitations

Researchers did have a few limitations during the study. They lacked full sets of images for more than half of the study participants due to the fact that some of the study group was missing at least one photo. There were others who were excluded because they had undergone some additional cosmetic lip procedures during the study period.

It also may be unaffordable for some patients. Finances can be described as the life force of cosmetic surgery. The importance of money in plastic surgery cannot be overemphasized and, with the rapid development in the growth of the plastic surgery industry, the development of new and more effective ways to perform cosmetic procedures has raised the cost to undergo such procedures. In the world today, a top-quality cosmetic procedure performed by good surgeons isn't cheap. Thousands of dollars are needed to cover the cost of most procedures if you want to get the best. Sadly, this has been a major obstacle for a lot of people who can't afford to pay the large fees required to get these procedures. In addition, most plastic surgery procedures are considered optional by insurance companies so they don't cover the cost for a lot of these procedures.

In general, this type of procedure is not typically covered by insurance unless there is some sort of injury that requires facial reconstruction surgery. Patients who want lip augmentation along with their facelift will need to pay the $5000-$8000 fee out of their own pocket. While that price might seem too high for some people, there are plenty of other patients willing to pay whatever amount of money it takes to make what they view as an improvement in their appearance.


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