Having full, plump lips is often considered a sign of good health, beauty and youth. Whether you were born with thin lips or your lips are thinning due to the natural aging process, there are different ways to enhance them.Lip injections using fat or other fillers can keep your lips plump for months at a time.

Lip implants and other surgical procedures such as a lip lift can also be performed for a more permanent solution. Options include lip lifts, vermillion (lip) advancement and permanent makeup.

When to Consider Lip Enhancement

  • Your lips have always been thin and recede when you smile
  • As you age, your lips have thinned
  • You feel self-conscious about how your lips look
  • Having fuller lips will help balance your face


  • Some lip injections are temporary and can be reversed to your preference
  • Implants and surgical procedures provide a permanent solution
  • Quick one-day recovery for injections and a week for most lip surgery


  • Fillers are temporary and will require injections every few months
  • Asymmetry is a possibility
  • Removal of implants is difficult

These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering lip enhancement. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with Dr. Jensen.

Am I a good candidate for a lip enhancement?

The following are the most common reasons why you may want to consider lip enhancement:

  • Good candidates for lip enhancement want to plump up thin lips or create a fuller look. When you smile and your top or both lips disappear, you may benefit from lip augmentation.
  • There are techniques that can improve uneven lips, the shape of your mouth and gum-show when you smile.
  • If your lips are too large and overwhelm your face, speak to Dr. Jensen about lip reduction surgery.

If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are a good candidate for this procedure.

How is a lip enhancement procedure performed?

There are a few options for lip enhancement. Dr. Jensen will discuss with you options depending on your aesthetic goals and recovery time frame. It might be appropriate to have two or more of these procedures to achieve the right look for you.

Injections – fat transfer: In fat grafting, your own fat is harvested with liposuction from another area of your body, purified and then injected into your lips. Injections may need to be repeated until you get the desired result.

Injections – fillers: Fillers made from natural or synthetic biocompatible material such as Juvederm™ acts as a fat substitute to plump up the lip. One treatment is usually sufficient to produce the desired result. The results, however, will be temporary and require repeat injections.

Surgery – dermal graft: A permanent method of augmenting the lips is accomplished by surgically advancing the lip forward, with incisions placed inside the lips. A dermal-fat graft, taken from the deeper layers of your body, may then be positioned under the mucosa to add additional fullness.

Surgery – lip advancement: This procedure involves making an incision along the border of the colored portion of the lips and the normal skin. A strip of normal skin outside the border is then excised and then the colored portion advanced to increase the area of the lips.

Surgery – lip implant: Lip implants can be inserted through a tiny incision at the corners of the mouth. There are multiple natural or synthetic implant options available. Dr. Jensen will discuss which option is best for you.

Surgery – lip lift: Removing extra skin and lifting the lips will help those with loose skin or those who have an elongated upper lip. To increase the upper lip, an incision is made under the nose and then skin is removed to pull up the lips. This technique can shorten the upper lip to expose more teeth. To lift a downward turning mouth, small incisions are made at each corner of the mouth and the extra skin is removed. Very small sutures are used for this procedure and removed four to five days later.

Silicone injections – patient safety warning: Silicone injections are an unsafe and unacceptable option to use as filler. These injections are not FDA approved and often offered by unlicensed individuals and should be avoided. Always consult with Dr. Jensen or a board-certified plastic surgeon, preferably an ASAPS Member, if you have questions about a particular type or brand.

How do I prepare for a lip enhancement procedure?

Preparation for lip enhancement will depend on what kind of procedure you and Dr. Jensen have agreed upon. Dr. Jensen will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam prior to surgery.

In advance of your procedure, Dr. Jensen will ask you to:

  • Stop smoking at least four weeks before surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, all anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding
  • Hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery

Lip enhancement is performed on an outpatient basis. If you are having a surgical procedure with sedation, be sure to arrange for a reliable person to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.

What can I expect on the day of lip enhancement treatment?

Nonsurgical treatments

Injections with fillers are being performed in the office with little to no downtime and minimal preparation. Dr. Jensen or Amy Jensen will prep the area to be treated and may inject lidocaine into the area. The procedure should take less than 30 minutes in most cases, and you will be given instructions to follow once you leave the office.

Surgical lip enhancement

Your lip enhancement procedure will be performed in our accredited office-based surgical suite. Most procedures take at least than thirty minutes to complete.

  • Medications are administered for your comfort during and after the surgical procedure.
  • Sedation and local anesthesia is most commonly used during your lip enhancement procedure.
  • Dr. Jensen will follow the pre-operative plan discussed with you before surgery.
  • If you are having fat transfer surgery, liposuction will be performed to remove live fat cells to be injected into your lips.
  • After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into our recovery room where you will continue to be closely monitored. After surgery, you may have stitches.

You will be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and Dr. Jensen have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.

The downtime from nonsurgical options is minimal. You may experience some bruising or swelling which will subside with time.

Dr. Jensen will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care from the recovery room nurse, including information about:

  • Normal symptoms you should expect
  • Potential signs of complication.

Immediately after lip advancement (surgical)

You will experience postoperative bruising and swelling, with mild discomfort for a day or two. A cold compress can be applied to the operative site to reduce swelling, bruising and pain and will help for 72 hours. You will be mobile the day of your surgery, but your activities will be restricted.

Recovery time frame

Injections with fillers are being performed in the office with little to no downtime and minimal preparation. Dr. Jensen or Amy Jensen will prep the area to be treated and may inject lidocaine into the area. The procedure should take less than 30 minutes in most cases, and you will be given instructions to follow once you leave the office.

The first two weeks

  • You should be able to return to work and other normal activities within a week.
  • Stitches are removed in four to six days; sutures placed inside the mouth will dissolve in a similar period of time.
  • You may be restricted to a soft diet for up to ten days.

Week two to eight

After two weeks, vigorous physical activity can be resumed.

Fortunately, significant complications from lip enhancement are rare. This procedure is usually performed without any major problems.

Risks and potential complications of surgery is a subject you should discuss during your consultation. The risks in most surgeries are similar. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Hematoma or seroma
  • Infection
  • Loss of sensation
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reactions
  • Damage to underlying structures
  • Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures.

You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of our staff and Dr. Jensen, both before and after your lip enhancement procedure.