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Lip Filler 101

Woman receiving lip filler from injector

With its wide availability, minimal downtime, and stunning results, lip filler is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures on the market today. However, if you’re new to this form of lip augmentation, you may have questions about what to expect. No worries! Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect from a lip filler procedure.

Lip Filler Basics

Lip Filler is, as you might guess, a cosmetic treatment that adds volume to your lips. Some people have naturally thin lips, and others develop them as a natural part of aging. Wrinkles can also develop along the sides of your lips as you age. Filler can add plumpness to the lips and restore a more youthful look. Other areas often treated include the nasolabial folds (smile lines), tear troughs (shadow under the eyes), cheeks, jawline, and hands.

Lip fillers are injectable treatments, which makes them much easier and less invasive than surgical alternatives, like lip implants or fat grafting. Several different substances are used in lip fillers. Many are made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring compound in your body. However, other lip fillers contain polyalkylide, polylactic acid, and polymethyl-methylacrylate (PMMA) beads. The type of material used in your lip filler will depend on your needs, the look you want to achieve, and your provider’s advice.

How Much Filler Will You Need?

Lip filler is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). The amount used for your lip will depend on the issues that you want corrected and the look you want to achieve. Many people find that one lip filler syringe (about one cc) is enough for them, but some patients new to lip enhancement may want to start with 0.5 cc. Others who want a dramatic look or have skinny lips may need more. Filler can be placed in other areas of the face, neck, or hands, and usually more volume is required in those areas. Before your procedure, discuss the details of your desired look with Dr. Boger. This will help us determine how much filler to use.

How Much Does Lip Filler Cost?

As you might expect, there’s no set price tag for a lip filler procedure. Some of the cost will depend on where you live (injectors in areas with higher costs of doing business tend to charge more). Generally, hyaluronic acid filler is on the lower end of the cost scale while. Other fillers can carry higher price tags. For example, fillers made with PMMA beads may be double or triple the cost per syringe. To avoid surprises, discuss costs and how much filler may be necessary with your injector.

What Results Can I Expect from Lip Filler?

The effects of your lip filler treatment will depend on several variables, including the natural size of your lips, the skill of your injector, and the type of filler you use. However, you can generally expect to see fuller, plumper lips and reduced vertical lines around the lips (if you had them to begin with). Some results can be seen immediately after your procedure. Your lips may seem more swollen than intended in the first day or two after your injection. After the initial swelling goes down, you’ll see your “final” look.

How Long Does Lip Filler Last?

Lip filler doesn’t create a permanent effect. On average, the effects slowly wear off over 6-12 months. A few fillers are advertised as having more prolonged effects. Your treatment could be shorter if you have a fast metabolism or longer if your metabolism is slower. No matter what lip filler you choose, one thing’s for sure: you’ll need to go back, eventually, for a repeat treatment.

Is Getting Lip Filler Painful?

Lip filler procedures aren’t always comfortable, but most patients don’t report them as painful. We can apply numbing cream to your lips before the injection to make the experience as pain-free as possible. Ice immediately prior is also effective at reducing pain. Most fillers also have lidocaine, an anesthetic, within their formulas to take the edge off. Lip filler is relatively quick, so you won’t feel the “pinch” for long!

Risks and Cautions for Lip Filler

Lip filler isn’t suitable for everyone. Some people with bleeding disorders or specific allergies may not be good candidates for lip fillers. If you have active inflammation or infection in the lip area, you should also hold off on getting filler. Filler should not be placed within 2 weeks of another skin procedure (laser, microneedling, etc). Finally, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not get filler. If you are concerned that you have a health condition incompatible with lip filler, discuss it with us beforehand.

Some of the risks of lip filler include bleeding at the injection site, tenderness, bruising, and discoloration. If you have had cold sores in the area, you may also see one reactivate. If the filler is misapplied, you could also experience lip asymmetry (lopsided lips or one lip more significant than the other). Filler can also migrate into nearby areas of your face, such as the nose. If the result is not as you expected, most commonly used fillers (hyaluronic acid based) can be dissolved quickly using an enzyme, Hyaluronidase. The cost for this is minimal.

To minimize the chance of problems, employ an injector with lots of experience and a solid understanding of anatomy – for example, a medical doctor.

Can You Feel Lip Filler When Kissing?

In a word — no! Lip filler injections should result in lips that don’t “feel” any different when you kiss (other than a bit fuller!). However, don’t go from your injection appointment right to a kiss. To avoid the possibility of filler migrating, you should avoid puckering your lips for the first 24 hours after the filler is injected.

Is a Lip Filler the Same as a Lip Flip?

While both lip filler and lip flips improve the look of the lips, they work differently. While filler increases the volume of lips, a lip flip uses botulinum toxin/tox is placed strategically along the edges of the upper lip. This relaxes the surrounding muscles, resulting in the lip “flipping” slightly upward for a fuller look. While lip filler results are seen immediately, a lip flip takes a few days to become noticeable.

Learn more about lip filler with a free consultation with Dr. Boger.