“When someone comes in for lip fillers, we don’t just say, OK, let’s go!” laughs Dr. Sunder. “We do a full consultation, and as part of that, I’m assessing their facial balance, I’m talking about their profile, measuring the lip to the lower face, to the whole face, to the chin, and we’re looking at the lip as part of a whole.”
Expectations and personal goals aside, a discussion about potential risks and complications is equally important, says Dr. Geraghty. “It’s critical that patients understand that lip treatments are not haircuts — they are medical procedures with real risks and potential downtime,” she cautions. “There’s a lot to know and expect going into a treatment.”
Are there any risks to getting lip fillers?
It’s not too hard to spot a bad lip filler job. Dr. Geraghty rightly calls lips “a details game,” meaning that “if you get any little aspect wrong, people will notice the strangeness, even if they can’t pinpoint exactly why, and the patient is unlikely to be happy.”
Side effects range from annoying to do-not-pass-go serious. Clocking in at a minor danger level with a relatively common frequency are bruising, unevenness, and the pesky, but correctible, filler bumps, according to Dr. Doft. To resolve the filler bumps, often a result of too much filler being injected too superficially, Dr. Doft recommends a “massage with power” as soon as they appear to smooth them out, but if there’s no change, dissolution via hyaluronidase may be needed.
“But we can’t really round the risks out without talking about the major catastrophic complication,” says Dr. Alexiades, “and that is an inexperienced injector injecting the labial artery,” potentially causing skin necrosis. In sum, it’s the worst nightmare of every doctor who does injections.
But it doesn’t have to mean doom if your injector is experienced and prepared. “There’s safety with using a filler that’s easily dissolved,” explains Dr. Sunder of the hyaluronic acid filler family. “If you see a color change, if you see any signs of vascular compromise, you can quickly reverse it with hyaluronidase.”
To significantly skirt the doomsday potential side effects, it’s important for patients to entrust — and only entrust — a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to do their injections, as they’ve gone through years of exhaustive medical training to not only avoid such possibilities, but they can also be counted on to dive right in to mollify the damage if any such rare side effect did occur.
Can anyone get lip fillers?
In short, yes. A lip’s real estate can put limits on how significantly it will support an enhancement, and if a patient who is looking for ‘”more, more, more” and isn’t seen by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who knows just how to temper their expectations, those desires are unlikely to be met and the risk of complications jump. Dr. Sunder blames social media for the common belief that anyone can go from a very small lip to a large lip, but the reality is, “only certain anatomies can accommodate that.”