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Lip Augmentation Popular with Fans of the Pouty Look

Although liposuction and face lifts get more press, lip augmentation is an increasingly popular choice for cosmetic patrons who see pouting lips as emblematic of youth and sensuality. (The procedure also reduces fine wrinkles that form around the mouth.) According to figures released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 8,700 lip augmentation procedures using various methods were performed in 2007. The most popular of these methods employ collagen and implants.

Collagen or fat taken from other areas on the patient's body can be injected into the lips to create a fuller appearance. Both substances are, however, absorbed by the body so that treatments must be repeated to maintain the results. Expect injections to be effective for a period of 9 to 12 weeks only. Some individuals like this factor, however, as it gives them the option to alter their appearance goals from injection to injection or to gain the augmentation for a limited period only and for a specific purpose, like a movie role or a dream cruise.

A second and more permanent option involves the use of implants inserted via small incisions placed in the corners of the mouth. Accuracy of placement is essential. Various materials are available for implantation including AlloDerm, a natural sheet of collagen produced from donated skin.

Eventually, this implant integrates with the native tissues. Gore-Tex implants are widely used as they are well tolerated by the human body. Both Autologen and Dermalogen are injectable implants, the former produced from the patient's skin, the latter from donor tissue.

Restylane, an injectable gel of hyaluronic acid, is popular and has been widely advertised. Depending on the method selected, the recovery period may be a matter of just a few hours or as much as a day if sedation was required. Allergic reactions are possible, causing redness, swelling, itching, or an unnatural firmness at the site of the injection.

When implants are used, the material can migrate, effecting the symmetry of the lips. Normally, however, swelling and discoloration from bruises last approximately three to seven days. Patients with a history of allergies should discuss this factor thoroughly with their cosmetic professional because lip augmentation may be a poor option for them.

Costs vary, with surgical augmentation running approximately $1,850. (This does not, however, take into account factors like surgeon's and facility fees.) Collagen injections run around $300, so the entire range of possible augmentation options fall within $300 to as much as $5,000. For some popular young super stars like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, however, lip augmentation is as routine and normal as getting their hair done. At least with injectable options, the procedure falls within the means of most fans of the pouty look. The results may be temporary, but you can have a lot of fun in those two to three months.

Had that face lift or tummy tucks but want to go a step farther with your looks? What about lip augmentation?

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