Lip Enhancement

NEW YORK, NY (July 16, 1999) — Voluptuous lips are regarded as a sign of beauty and sensuality. Although, traditionally, cosmetic procedures for the mouth have not received the attention given to surgical treatments for other areas of the face, the lips have recently become the focus for new enhancement techniques. A review of current methods appears in the May/June issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal, an official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

"The materials available today for lip augmentation vary in their cosmetic results and their permanence," says board-certified plastic surgeon Richard D. Anderson, MD, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who co-authored the article based on five years’ clinical experience with a variety of methods including both free and dermal fat grafts, Gore-Tex, AlloDerm, and SoftForm.

Autogenous fat (taken from the patient’s own body) has been used since the late 1800s as a soft tissue filler material. Free fat transplantation involves withdrawing fat from the body and then reinjecting it with a syringe. Dermal fat grafts are transplanted with the fat still attached to the deeper layers of the skin.

"In my experience, use of a dermal fat graft achieves longer-lasting results than free fat transplantation," says Dr. Anderson. Dr. Anderson also has used other autogenous materials for lip augmentation including underlying facial muscle harvested during a facelift and scar tissue taken from the capsule surrounding a breast implant. Bovine collagen (Zyderm) may be used for lip augmentation, but patients now can donate their own skin to make autologous collagen or use human collagen derived from cadavers.

Gore-Tex, a non-reactive porous material, was initially used in the 1970s as a vascular graft. It can be implanted in varying thicknesses and sizes that are easily shaped and maintains its size once implanted. According to Dr. Anderson, AlloDerm , a newer implant material manufactured from human skin obtained from tissue banks, remains soft after implantation and does not migrate. The degree of resorption that may occur over time is unknown. Another new material, SoftForm, made of a synthetic material, comes in implants shaped like hollow tubes. Fibrous tissue ingrowth occurs through the center of the tube, providing stabilization of the implant in the tissues. "I use SoftForm for definition of the vermilion border," says Dr. Anderson.

Overall, in his series of nearly 400 patients, Dr. Anderson reports four minor complications and 19 patients who requested removal of the implants. "Patients may be aware of the implant when speaking or eating until they become accustomed to it," says Dr. Anderson. "Generally, patients have been pleased with their results.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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