Lip Augmentation Specialists

Fuller, more kissable lips are all the rage. Popularized by celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Bella Thorne, plump, luscious lips are within reach for women of all ages.

Lip augmentation procedures can be completed in as little as 15 minutes over a lunch break. The results last between three and 18 months, while more extensive options can deliver near-permanent results. Like many cosmetic procedures, your personal goals, preferences and medical history can help determine which option is best for you.

Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery offers a wide selection of lip augmentation procedures, including lip fillers, fat grafting and lip implants. During your consultation, the expert team will discuss your options and make recommendations based on your patient assessment.

The three main ways to enlarge lips are to use injectable fillers such as Juvéderm (hyaluronic acid), use one’s own body tissues, like fat or dermis, or place a synthetic implant such as PermaLip. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

Injectable Fillers

Injectable fillers have become a widely popular option for achieving fuller lips because of the convenience of the procedure, low to no recovery time and impactful results.

There are a variety of fillers on the market. Juvederm fillers are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), a compound found naturally in the human body and highly biocompatible for an effective treatment. Hyaluronic acid is the main component of Juvéderm. This material is a mucopolysaccharide filler that is present throughout our bodies. Bacteria have been engineered to make this substance in a sterile fashion. The material is harvested and can be injected into lines in the cheeks, lips, and perioral area. Injections with fillers can be done in as little as 15 minutes, require no downtime, and depending on the filler you select, last as long as 18 months. Your filler selection is often determined by your medical history, budget and desired outcomes.

Juvederm Ultra is a hyaluronic acid-based gel filler that lasts six to 12 months. The unique skin of the lips responds well to this type of filler, offering fullness while also maintaining the softness of youthful, natural lips.

Juvederm Volbella is a hyaluronic acid-based gel filler that is specially designed to improve the natural definition of the lips and reduce fine lines around the mouth, while also providing a plump, soft, natural-looking pout. Volbella is designed to last up to 12 months.

Juvederm Vollure is a long-lasting hyaluronic acid-based gel that uses patented technology to create a filler that is more malleable, making it easier to inject and creating softer results. This filler is also lower in water volume — a feature that reduces post-injection swelling. Results may last up to 18 months.

The effects last 6-12 months. Recently the FDA approved Voluma, which is an 18-24-month treatment for adding fullness to the cheeks, jawline and temple area. Two additional injectables, Volbella and Vollure, have been developed to fine-tune the result in different parts of the face and achieve individual results based on patient needs and desires. Because of these advantages, this is our preferred approach for temporary correction of the lips.

The sign of a high-quality filler and expert application is that it is invisible. The highly experienced team of certified nurse injectors at Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery are dedicated to helping you achieve lips that look naturally full and beautiful, and equally soft.


Juvederm lip injections in Charlotte, NC

Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is another popular option for lip augmentation due to its more permanent nature. The procedure is designed to correct lip asymmetries while also creating fuller, plumper lips that feel very natural.

In preparation for the procedure, fat is harvested from an area of abundance — in most cases, beneath the crease of the buttocks where the incision may be easily concealed. The advantage is that the procedure is easily tolerated with virtually no incisions. The disadvantage is the uncertainty as to how much fat will survive the transfer and keep the lips full.

During an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, the dermis fat is implanted into the lips. Recovery is complete within a few days and results are immediately visible. Dermis grafting to the lips is a very reliable way of permanently enlarging the lips. The cosmetic surgery procedure is done by removing a strip of skin underneath the buttock crease, then removing the epidermis and fat and placing the dermis graft into the lips. The advantage is the predictability of the augmentation and the natural feel of the lips. The disadvantage is the incisions under the buttock, well-hidden though they may be.

At Graper Harper Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Graper or Dr. Harper will work with you to discuss your aesthetic goals for the procedure. One of the advantages of fat-grafting is that your surgeon can be very precise with the amount of fat injected to create a near-perfect, full appearance that lasts and feels naturally soft.

Lip Implants

Lip implants are a permanent option for lip augmentation. The newest material for lip implants is highly effective, producing lasting, natural-looking and -feeling results without donor site incisions or risk of shrinkage.

The implants are categorized into purified Bovine protein know as Collagen, radiated human dermis such as AlloDerm, Gore-Tex and synthetic implants such as PermaLip.

Collagen is the main building block of the skin and can be refined from human or animal sources. The bovine collagen implant has been used for 20 years as a temporary (4-12 weeks) filler for lip augmentation. It is great for that special occasion or for someone who is not sure they want a permanent lip enlargement. It is very temporary. One can have collagen implants made from their own dermis, which reportedly lasts longer but is still not permanent. Hyaluronic acid has virtually replaced this treatment option as it lasts longer and feels more natural.

AlloDerm implants are human dermis that has been treated to make it safe for transplantation. The implant is placed in the lips just like the dermis graft except there are no donor scars and no donor site discomfort. The disadvantage of this cosmetic surgery procedure is the fact that the lips can only be made so large and the material may shrink with time.

Lip implants in Charlotte

Synthetic materials like Gore-Tex implants are very safe and have a long track record of biocompatibility in many areas of the body. The Gore-Tex comes in different sized tubes and is placed through small incisions on the border of the lips. The effect is to increase the size without any donor site issues, but the lip size increase tends to be smaller than with the other methods. Some patients note a different feel to the lips after the procedure.

PermaLip is the newest of the lip augmentation options. This is a very soft silicone implant that feels very natural in the body. It has all the advantages of a permanent implant, but none of the unnatural feel that Gore-Tex often has. There is no donor site and it is permanent without any shrinkage. The swelling after the procedure is more than after Juvederm injections, but you don’t have to ever do it again. We favor the Juvederm injectable fillers for temporary improvement and the PermaLip for patients who know they want fuller lips for permanent correction.

Lip Augmentation Procedure

All of these cosmetic surgery procedures are done in our facility with local anesthesia and sedation either by mouth or intravenously. The fillers are done in the office with just topical anesthesia in 30 minutes or less. The surgical procedures take 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the technique. Everyone experiences swelling after lip augmentation, but this resolves over the next several weeks. Most people take a few days off work and should expect not to be perfect when they return to work. Lipstick may be worn approximately five days after the cosmetic surgery. The lips are initially numb due to the swelling. This resolves quickly as the swelling goes down. Many patients feel lip balm is helpful post-op as their lips are more easily chapped due to the increased exposure to the sun and the wind. This too will resolve over time. For patients who have a history of fever blisters, we recommend a prophylactic anti-viral medication to prevent the unlikely occurrence of a sore post-operatively.

Obviously, since there are many different techniques to increase lip size, no technique is perfect for everyone. Each patient must weigh the advantages and disadvantages for their situation. We have experience in each cosmetic surgery technique and will guide you in your decision, for we really do know what you want.

Barbara McKay’s Lip Filler Treatment with Linda Owens

* Disclaimer: As with all medical procedures, individual results and experiences may vary.