RESTORING YOUR LIPS

When assessing and treating a patients lips there are several subtle changes that can rejuvenate the mouth area without making the lips look “done”.  Although some patients want much fuller lips, a lot of us prefer subtle changes.

old lips

young lips

lip comparision

As we age our upper lip changes in several ways.  We tend to lose the definition along the vermillion border, the philtral ridge/columns (the vertical columns that start at the tip of the cupids bow and end below the nose) flatten and the space between the upper lip and nose elongates.  Subtle changes can be created with easy injection techniques, including defining the vermillion border, restoring the philtral columns and accentuating the cupids bow.  Restoring the philtral columns frequently make the lip lift slightly.  Filling these columns can return the contours that were likely once there.  Vertical lip lines can be softened as well.  Small amounts of filler can be placed within the lip itself to restore lost volume.  There are many fillers to choose from these days,  giving the patient and provider options, depending on the treatment plan.  Fillers vary in their hyaluronic acid %, viscosity, elasticity and cohesiveness.

When assessing and treating the lower lip there are several changes that can have a nice impact,  other than just looking fuller.  Again, the vermillion border can be defined and fine lines can be corrected.  The oral commissures, which tend to turn down as we age, can be turned back up with filler placement techniques.  Volume restoration can be completed to obtain the desired effect.

The ideal balance of upper lip to lower lip is 1/2 to 2/3’s.  This does vary individually and you and your provider can decide the best proportions for you.

In addition to fillers, small doses of Botox® or Dysport® can be utilized to relax muscles in this region of the face.  If a person tends to purse their lips  Botox® or Dysport® can be used in the muscle surrounding the mouth (the orbicularis oris) to minimize the pursing.  This injection technique also tends to roll the upper lip up and out slightly, making it appear slightly fuller.  Additionally, for a gummy smile,  an injection a little higher (closer to the nose) in the upper lip can relax the muscle that lifts the lip up.  This injection prevents as much gum tissue from being exposed with animation.

Another placement of Botox® or Dysport® that can help in the lower face and lip area is treating the depressor anguli oris ,(DAO) which, in some individuals, pulls down the sides of the mouth.  Very small doses are utilized in these muscles to help minimize the appearance of frowning.

As with all facial injections, make sure your provider has a thorough understanding of facial anatomy.   Ask if there is an “emergency kit” for injectables in the clinic.  (a kit containing an enzyme to dissolve filler, should it be required)

Do not worry that having injectables in the mouth area will leave you with unnaturally big lips. (which we have all seen) If you and your provider are on the same page, you can obtain a natural restoration of the volume and definition you once had.

 

VYCROSS TECHNOLOGY

 various vycross

It has been a while!  I hope everyone had a good summer and that the new school year is off to a good start!

I thought I would do a quick blog on some of the newer HA (hyaluronic acid) dermal fillers that have come on the market.  As an injector I have been utilizing Allergan’s offerings with Vycross® technology.  These products inject very smoothly, have good malleability and moldability and tend to create less swelling for my patients. (not ZERO swelling, but less)   As an injector it makes my job easier and for my patients the treatments are well tolerated.  Additionally, the product lasts longer due to Vycross® technology.

The Juvederm® family of products have been available for a number of years.  Juvederm Ultra® XC and Juvederm Ultra Plus® XC utilize hylacross technology, the predecessor to the newer line of products.   Vycross® technology blends different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid and have enhanced cross linking to increase the duration of the product in the dermis.   The newer products, Juvederm Voluma®, Juvederm Vollure™ and Juvederm Volbella® have given injectors and patients more options to choose from.

The products have differences which make them suitable for different areas of the face.  Voluma® has 20 mg/ml of Hyaluronic Acid, tends to be very cohesive and is frequently utilized in the mid face to replace lost volume and to create lift.  Vollure™ has 17.5 mg/ml of Hyaluronic Acid and tends to be much less cohesive than Voluma® and works well in areas where finer correction or more subtle volume is desired.  Volbella® has 15 mg/ml of Hyaluronic Acid and works well in fine lines, such as perioral lines (smoker lines).  Volbella® smooths very easily once injected.  In general, the less the HA concentration the softer and smoother the product.   You and your provider can determine which products to use to achieve your aesthetic goals.  It may be that you can benefit from several of the products.

vycross face

All of the products mentioned have 0.3% lidocaine added to make the injections less painful.  I also pretreat with topical numbing and use ice during the treatment.  There are also occasions when a 2% lidocaine dental block is helpful.  For example, lip injections.

The duration of the products varies patient to patient and the companies literature tends to promise more than it can deliver.  BUT, I do find these products are outperforming their predecessors and longevity has improved.  All of the HA fillers have a good safety record and have minimal side effects.