Who is a Candidate for Lip Reduction
Who is a Candidate for Lip Reduction
Our society has been deluged with desires for lip augmentation or enlargement but who is a good candidate to have his or her lips reduced? There are two principle groups of people desiring lip reduction. The first group includes individuals who have had terrible lip augmentation procedures that were permanent and now require fixing. Examples of permanent products that could be misused to create bad results include silicone injections, Bellafill(Artefill), fat transfer, Aquamid, and a variety of other injectables. Not all of these injectables should be considered bad, but their outcomes can be bad in the wrong hands. The second group of individuals who desires lip reduction concerns those who were born with lips they feel are disproportionate to their face. Typically, this group is composed of certain ethnicities who have been stigmatized with a very full lip, e.g., Africans, Asians, and some Hispanic groups as well. In addition, many Caucasians also can exhibit lips that are too full for their facial features and desire reduction. Accordingly, ethnic lip reduction may be considered more simply congenital lip reduction, i.e., for those born that way. A third category could be considered but is rare: those individuals who developed too large a lip from trauma or accident such as abnormal scar tissue or other related enlargement of the lip. The focus of this article will be to discuss the first two categories, namely those who have had an overly done fake lip via permanent injectables and those who were born with a lip that is too full for their facial features.
This woman had silicone injected into her lips in an unnatural way and underwent correction of her lips through a surgical lip reduction of both her upper and lower lips. She is shown afterward with much more natural appearing lips.
For the first category, many times individuals who have had their lives wrecked with a botched plastic surgery procedure feel hopeless that their situation can be corrected. Fortunately, this is truly not the case if the right surgeon with extensive experience in the art and technique of lip reduction is approached. The number one question that I receive all the time is “Can you fix me because I had [fill in the blank] injected into my lips?” The answer is almost always a yes. I have reduced lips that have contained almost every conceivable product including but not limited to Gore-Tex, silicone, fat transfer, Artecoll, Bellafill, Aquamid, Bioplastique, and many others. The second most common question I get is “Can you remove all the product from my lips?” The answer to this one is unfortunately no. Although the lips can be reduced to adequate size so that hopefully to almost everyone looking at you you now look natural the actual product cannot be entirely removed. In many cases the product becomes so firmly integrated with the tissues that they have become inseparable. The lip reduction involves taking down a mixture of product and natural lip until the size of the lip is of a natural size and proportion.
For the second category, i.e., for individuals born with too large a lip, a lip reduction may be the solution to feelings of inadequacy or stigmatization. One concern that I have received regarding “ethnic lip reduction” is whether this represents a betrayal of one’s ethnicity. I believe that is a personal decision that I cannot rightly comment on. However, I can state that when lips are disproportionately large for an individual so that they draw unwanted attention to their presence it may be reasonable to consider aesthetic reduction no matter what race is seeking this correction. As mentioned above, I have seen an increasing number of white individuals who want this done simply because their lips are not in balance with their face. Like any facial feature that is out of proportion to the face, e.g., too large a nose, too small a chin, an aesthetic correction may be warranted to achieve overall balance to a face. In addition, particularly in some African-American patients that I have seen they have an excess of gum that almost folds over in a redundant flap when they smile. This truly can be considered almost a deformity that would justify correction for those who are interested in doing so. For whatever reasons that someone is interested in a lip reduction, finding an expert in this field who is technically experienced but artistically minded can help that person achieve his or her desired goals.
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