Question: I have the worst thin lips ever. I have been thinking about lip augmentation for a while, but I do not want to get an implant or go in for injections every few months. I have heard that there are some permanent injectable substances for lip augmentation. Why are these substances not used more often?
Answer: Well, there are some permanent injectable filler materials available, but none of these are FDA approved for injection into the lips and, in fact, I know of no filler material that is actually FDA approved for use in the lip itself. With that said, I would highly caution you against using a permanent filler in the lips due to the fact that, in my opinion, there is a relatively high incidence of migration of the product into an area that you may not want it in. If this would happen, this is a very difficult situation to correct, and I, therefore, feel that the benefit of an augmented lip is greatly outweighed by the risk of creating something that you do not desire. I, therefore, recommend the use of the hyaluronic acid products, such as Restylane and Juvederm Ultra, simply due to the fact that they are very consistent, very safe, and they typically will last at least six months in most patients. Therefore, you are looking at essentially two injections a year, which for most of my patients is acceptable. If you are looking for something longer term, then I would consider fat grafting to the lips, though I feel in my hands that this also can be somewhat unreliable, but if performed several times, can give a very natural-appearing lip that essentially has an augmentation permanently.