Lip Reductions May Be the New Norm

Between 2000 and 2016, lip procedures to plump up pouts increased by 50 percent, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. New trends show that some patients are looking to take their lips in a new direction as lip reduction surgery is on the rise.

Lip reduction surgery involves the removal of skin from the lips from the area known as the vermillion border. The vermillion border is the edge of the lip that is between the lip and normal skin above or below the lip. The skin of the lip has less keratin than the rest of the skin, and as a result has a pink or red appearance. In some individuals, the vermillion border is very red, while in others it is very pink.

After the removal of the excess skin in the vermillion border area, plastic surgeons are creating a new edge of the lip with stitches.The purpose of the lip reduction procedure is to make the pout smaller and thinner.

The lip reduction procedure is more popular in Asian countries, but the procedure is gaining popularity in the United States, too. According to the most recent statistics from the ASPS, lip reductions increased 283 percent between 2015 and 2016. Plastic surgeons performed 3,547 lip reductions in 2016.

Patients undergoing the lip reduction procedure are given a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area. The surgery is an outpatient procedure and takes around 30 minutes to complete, and most lip reduction patients experience pain and swelling after the procedure that lasts about a week. Lip reduction patients must follow a post-op regimen of soft foods.

While lip reduction is trending now, lip enhancements are still leading the list of lip procedures. Lip enhancements totaled over 27,000 procedures in 2015, according to the ASPS. As of 2015, lip enhancement procedures were up 43 percent since 2000.

Lip enhancement procedures include dermal filler injections like Juvederm or Restalyne. These fillers are hyaluronic acid based products. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body and plays an important role in giving cells their shape. It also attracts water to cells, keeping them full and plump.

Dermal fillers are more popular for lip enhancement procedures because although fillers are long-lasting and patients can achieve their desired pout, dermal fillers do not last forever.

“The results of dermal fillers last anywhere between three and 12 months, depending on the type of filler used,” said Dr. Jack Peterson, M.D., a Topeka, Kansas, plastic surgeon.

Using fillers to change the lips contrasts with the lip reduction procedure which is permanent. Other options for lip enhancement includes silicone injections. Unlike hyaluronic acid or collagen based fillers, the results of silicone injections are permanent and also unpredictable.

“Silicone can move around once injected, and silicone lip injections can result in uneven or misshapen lips,” Peterson said.

Some silicone injection patients may also experience dimpling, increased swelling and tissue atrophy in which the lip tissue withers away.

Some patients looking to make their lips more luscious choose silicone lip implants. Silicone lip implants are permanent. Results of lip implant surgery also vary, and patients run the risk of rejecting the implant, which could lead to infection and a botched final look.

There are saline implants available for lips, but this solution also has its drawbacks. Many patients with saline lip implants say they can feel the implant, and that fact is bothersome to them. Other patients experience the lip implant deflating, which causes the lips to be uneven

“Patients have many options when it comes to enhancing their lips, but should work with a board certified plastic surgeon to find the right options for their aesthetic goals,” Peterson said.



Fox News. More people are getting lip reduction surgery. 28 April 2017.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Plastic Surgery Statistics. 2016.