Lip Augmentation

Lip augmentation adds volume to thinning lips, creating a more youthful appearance. There are several types of lip augmentation, including lip fillers, implants, fat transfers and lip lifts. Recovery time, results and possible risks vary with each procedure.


Provider injecting filler during lip augmentation.
Healthcare providers use different methods for lip augmentation, including lip fillers.

What is lip augmentation?

Lip augmentation is an in-office cosmetic procedure that creates fuller, more youthful-looking lips. There are different types of lip augmentation to fit your needs and goals. Some procedures are nonsurgical, using fillers to plump up the lips temporarily. Others involve small incisions in your lips or face for longer-lasting results.


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What are the types of lip augmentation?

Types of lip augmentation include:

  • Fat grafting (autologous fat injections or fat transfer): A plastic surgeon takes fat from another area of your body — commonly your stomach — purifies it and injects it into your lips.
  • Lip fillers: A healthcare provider injects lip filler, also called a dermal filler, into your lips or around your mouth.
  • Lip implants: A plastic surgeon makes a small incision in each corner of your mouth and inserts an implant into your lips.
  • Lip lift: A plastic surgeon removes excess skin between your nose and upper lip (or the corners of your mouth) to pull up your lips.

What are the different types of lip fillers?

Healthcare providers mainly use lip fillers that contain hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in your body. Common hyaluronic acid fillers include Restylane® and Juvéderm®. Some fillers also contain lidocaine, which numbs your skin to prevent pain or discomfort from the procedure.


How long does lip augmentation last?

How long your fuller lips last varies by procedure. For example:

  • Lip fillers last six months to a year.
  • Fat grafting lasts at least five years.
  • A lip lift is permanent.
  • Lip implants are permanent but can be removed at any time.

What is the best lip augmentation procedure?

The best lip augmentation procedure is different for every person. The right procedure for you depends on your goals and lip shape and size. For example, lip implants or a lip lift may be ideal if you prefer permanent results.

However, implants may not be appropriate for razor-thin or asymmetrical lips. Together with your healthcare provider, you can determine the best approach for you.


Who’s a good candidate for lip augmentation?

Your plastic surgeon will help you decide whether you’re a good candidate for lip augmentation and which procedure is right for you.

In most cases, you’re a candidate for lip augmentation if you:

  • Are in good health.
  • Don’t smoke or can quit smoking before the procedure.
  • Don’t have an active infection like a cold sore.
  • Don’t have a chronic condition like diabetes or lupus.
  • Have realistic expectations about your results.

Procedure Details

How do I prepare for lip augmentation?

Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions on how best to prepare. A few weeks before the procedure, you’ll need to stop smoking and taking blood-thinning medication, which can worsen bruising. Avoid pain relievers like aspirin and herbal supplements like multivitamins and fish oil.

What happens before lip augmentation?

Your plastic surgeon will likely use local anesthesia to numb the area so that you don’t feel any pain. You’ll be awake for the procedure. If you’re having multiple cosmetic surgeries, you may receive general anesthesia and be asleep the entire time.

What happens during lip augmentation?

Here’s what to expect according to the type of lip augmentation procedure you have:

Lip fillers

When getting lip injections, your healthcare provider uses a fine needle to inject the filler into your lips. The injections typically take 10 to 30 minutes.

Fat transfer

If the injected substance contains fat from your body, you’ll have liposuction to remove the fat, usually from your belly area. After the fat is purified, your plastic surgeon injects it into your lips. The entire procedure takes about 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Lip implant

This procedure usually lasts about 30 minutes. During lip implant surgery, your plastic surgeon:

  1. Numbs your lips.
  2. Makes a tiny incision in each corner of your mouth.
  3. Creates a tunnel by inserting a clamp through one incision and threading it to the other side.
  4. Pulls the implant through the tunnel using the clamp.
  5. Closes the incisions with stitches.

Lip lift

This procedure typically takes about an hour. During a lip lift, your plastic surgeon:

  1. Numbs the area.
  2. Makes an incision under your nose.
  3. Removes a small strip of skin.
  4. Lifts your upper lip.
  5. Closes the incision with stitches.

In another type of lip lift, the surgeon makes two small incisions on each side of your mouth and removes a bit of skin from those areas.

What happens after lip augmentation?

You’ll receive instructions for helping your lips heal and optimizing your results. The plastic surgeon may suggest:

  • Eating soft foods for the first few days.
  • Elevating your head during sleep.
  • Not moving your lips excessively.
  • Using an ice pack on your lips for several days.

Risks / Benefits

What are the benefits of lip augmentation?

Lip augmentation gives your lips a fuller, younger look. Depending on which procedure you have, lip augmentation has minimal to no downtime.

Results with some lip augmentation procedures are reversible. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of lip implant surgery, your plastic surgeon can remove the implant. If you have lip fillers, your healthcare provider can dissolve them with hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid.

What are the risks or complications of this procedure?

Talk to your plastic surgeon about potential issues after lip augmentation. Your chances for risks and complications go up with surgical lip augmentation. But nonsurgical lip augmentation also has risks.

In general, possible risks and complications include:

  • Allergic reactions like redness and itching.
  • Bleeding.
  • Bruising.
  • Infection.
  • Lip stiffening.
  • Scarring.
  • Swelling.
  • Uneven lips.

Recovery and Outlook

What is the recovery time?

Recovery time differs depending on the type of lip augmentation you have. With lip fillers, there’s little to no recovery time. With surgical lip augmentation, you may need a few days to several weeks for bruising, redness and swelling to subside.

When can I return to my typical activities?

With nonsurgical lip augmentation, you can typically return to work right away. Surgical lip augmentation may require some downtime. With any lip augmentation procedure, your plastic surgeon may suggest avoiding exercise and other strenuous activities for up to several weeks.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Call your plastic surgeon right away if you develop:

  • An allergic reaction or infection.
  • Bruising that doesn’t go away.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Fever.
  • Severe swelling.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Lip augmentation uses different nonsurgical and surgical techniques. For a fuller look, your plastic surgeon may inject fillers with hyaluronic acid or your own fat into your lips. Or you may opt for a lip implant or lip lift to permanently plump up your lips. Your plastic surgeon will help you decide which lip augmentation procedure is right for your lips and goals.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/14/2022.

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