The LA Lip Enhancement™ was developed by Dr. Calvert as a way to create beautiful lip augmentation by using the patients own tissue (fat and deep layers of the skin). The procedure combines two techniques that work together to produce unparalleled results. Dr. Calvert originally created the operation as an additional technique for his patients undergoing rhinoplasty or facelift surgery. However, it has become a primary procedure for many patients, as well.
Best Candidates for the Procedure
The LA Lip Enhancement™ is for anyone who wants to enhance the appearance of their lips and perioral region (the area around the lips) with the use of their own tissue. The patient does not necessarily need to have thin lips, but the procedure is quite effective for increasing the size of the lips. Many patients who undergo this operation have previously had Restylane® or Collagen treatments and generally like the results. However, they may be tired of having to return every three to six months for re-injection.
A permanent* enhancement of the lips through the use of the patients own tissue. More attractive, youthful mouth and lips.
The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. Sedation with local anesthesia is used for safety and comfort. The procedure is performed by excising a thin strip of skin, usually from an old scar, and passing it through the upper lip and sometimes the lower lip in much the same way a lip implant is placed. Then, fat is harvested from the hips, abdomen, or knees and injected into the lips.
The combination of the two procedures seems to work best to create soft, beautifully enhanced, natural lips. The only dressings needed are some steri-strips on the area where the skin was taken and some gauze over the areas where the fat was harvested. The lips are treated with antibiotic ointment. The swelling of the lips can be somewhat striking for several days to a week after the procedure. The lips will return to a natural look and feel that will keep getting better with time.
The procedure is often combined with major procedures such as a facelift, rhinoplasty, or breast augmentation or may be combined with other minor procedures, such as a lip lift, perioral chemical peel or laser resurfacing, or other more .
Need for Further Fat Injections
Because of the unpredictability of the fat injections, it may be necessary to repeat the fat injections around one year after the procedure. The fat does tend to shrink over time and it is common that the patient wants to see more of an effect. Thus, it is not unusual to see patients having repeat fat injections or supplementing with other fillers. Like all things in plastic surgery, the operation does not stop the aging process; it merely creates the look that the patient wants to see until nature prevails.
Risks and Potential Complications
The greatest risk of the procedure is infection at the site where the graft is taken or where it is placed in the lips. Smoking greatly increases this risk. There are also the minimal risks of bleeding, scarring, painful scarring, asymmetry, absorption of the grafts, loss of the grafts, poor aesthetic result, nerve injuries, numbness of the lips or the areas where the fat is taken, need for re-operation, and failure of the operation to meet the desired expectations. Most operations proceed without incident and create the result that is desired.
Not having any surgery on the lips is always an option. This is purely a cosmetic procedure and does not need to be performed. Other fillers are an option, such as Restylane®, Radiesse®, Zyplast®, Zyderm®, or the patient's own fat without the dermal-fat graft. Lip implants are also an option, although they carry their own set of risks. Mucosal advancements are an option where the mucosa is surgically advanced to roll the lip out.
* Permanent in plastic surgery is a very difficult word to define since the aging process goes on day after day for all of us. It is clear that this technique permanently moves tissue to the lips, but it is very variable patient to patient how long the effect will last. Your results will certainly vary from pervious patients and with each procedure.
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