Last updated December 2022
Why use lip fillers?
Lip fillers may help to improve;
- The lip volume loss that occurs with age
- Lip size relative to other facial features
- The proportions between the upper and lower lip
- The proportions between the lips and the face
- The facial profile
- Wrinkling and hydration of the lips and surrounding skin.
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we only use hyaluronic acid fillers for lips, which are not permanent and are reversible with injections of the enzyme hyaluronidase.
What is involved with having lip fillers?
A consultation to discuss lip fillers is the first step. During this consultation, your practitioner will;
- Ask about your previous cosmetic and medical history, particularly if you have had lip fillers.
- Discuss your aesthetic goals
- Assess your suitability to having lip fillers
- Examine your lips to determine what can be done
- Discuss the likely outcomes and the risks and benefits of lip fillers in your situation.
- Inform you of the potential downtime – often, a few days after treatment is required for any swelling and bruising to subside.
- Discuss the amount and cost of lip filler.
- Look at other areas of the face that may require filler treatment, especially if the lips do not require the minimum amount of 1mL; other sites can be injected with the remaining filler.
Lip filler treatment may then involve;
- Local anaesthetic injections to numb the lips before treatment. It is not always necessary; however, it is an option for those concerned about discomfort or pain during lip filling.
- The use of fine (blunt) micro-cannulas to inject lip filler. These cannulas are our preferred method as they significantly minimise the amount of post-procedure swelling and bruising compared to using sharp needles. The lip filler is usually injected through minor entry points made by a needle on the vermillion border, allowing the cannula to pass through into the lips.
- Injection of the areas surrounding the lips to support the lips, e.g. mouth corners or other parts of the face, with any remaining filler.
- The practitioner may then feel or palpate the lips to ensure smoothness and assess and feel whether the lip filler has been placed evenly and symmetrically.
What can be treated with filler to enhance the lips and mouth area?
Dermal fillers can be injected into the lip and surrounding areas, including;
- The lip body – also known as the vermillion, is the most commonly injected area with dermal fillers. Usually, this is done on both the upper and lower lip vermillion.
- The vermilion border – or the junction between the cutaneous (skin) and vermillion (red part of the lips) can be enhanced by injecting dermal fillers along this border. This defines the lips in a similar way to applying lip liner.
- Correction of vertical upper lip lines – if present, is also important in enhancing lips. This area is often a key concern for patients and can be softened with various fillers.
- Oral commissures – or the folds at each mouth corner. Filling this area turns the corners of the lips upwards, giving the mouth a ‘happier’ appearance.
- Philtral columns – are the two ridges towards the centre of the upper lip that traverse from the lip to the nose. By enhancing this ‘double-ridge’, it is possible to give the upper lip more shape and curve, amplifying the sensuality of the lips.
- Cupid’s bow – or the V-shaped area in the centre of the upper lip can also be enhanced with dermal fillers. This makes the ‘V’ more pronounced. Done in conjunction with the philtrum, it can achieve a pleasant overall shape of the upper lip.
What should I do before having lip fillers?
Ideally, blood thinning medications and/or supplements should be ceased before filler injections, with adequate time for their effect to pass. However, you should consult with your general practitioner before ceasing any medications. Although it is possible to perform fillers whilst on blood thinning medications, any bruising that may occur will be more significant.
Anti-viral medication can be prescribed for those with a history of cold sores to prevent lip filler from triggering an outbreak.
How do I care for my lips after lip filler treatment?
You should avoid a few things immediately after injecting your lips with filler. These include:
- Lipstick and lip balms for 24 hours
- Kissing or touching your lips for 24 hours
- Massaging your lips for the next two weeks (lip filler may move)
It may take several days for bruising and swelling to subside after lip filler and a further few weeks for the filler to integrate into the tissues and for the final result to be revealed.
Lip Filler Case Studies
This patient presented to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute in Melbourne, wanting to add volume to her lips. Her lips were enhanced using the cannula method. The patient reported she had no bruising, no pain and no downtime. She is very happy with her results and feels more confident when going out.
This patient presented to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute with concerns that her lips lacked definition and volume. She also noticed that the upper lip tapered away from the middle to the outside. Her lips were enhanced by using injectables in the lip line and body to enhance shape and volume.
This patient presented to the Victorian Cosmetic Institute in Melbourne. 1ml of dermal filler was used to create fuller and more shapely lips.
This patient wanted to add volume to her wonderfully shaped lips. These are the immediate results (still swollen) post-treatment using the cannula method.
This patient has been seeing Dr Gavin Chan since 2012 for lip augmentation. She has had treatment approximately every 6-9 months.
The after picture below was taken just prior to her next treatment and about 6 months after her previous treatment. From this you can see that a natural result can be maintained over years of lip filler treatments.
How much lip filler should I have, and how often?
The generally accepted standard for lip filler is to inject 1mL of filler every 6 months. However, injection of this amount and frequency commonly leads to over-filling of the lips. A possible reason for the lip filler standard may be because hyaluronic acid fillers typically come in 1mL syringes, and the common belief is that the longevity of these fillers is 6 months.
However, since 2019, we have performed MRI scans to detect the presence of previously injected filler in the face (and lips). In these scans we often found filler from 2 to 12 years, despite hyaluronic acid fillers’ purported longevity from 6 to 18 months.
Ironically, a common complaint about lip fillers is that they often ‘disappear’ after only a few weeks or months. Once again, using MRI scans, we found that lip filler persists but often migrates out of the lip into surrounding areas. This creates the impression that they have gone when they have not.
We recommend infrequent filling of the lips using only small amounts each session. Rather than using 1mL to inject just the lips, we suggest that this one mL of filler can be spread through the whole face. Only a fraction of a mL should be injected into the lips to achieve a more natural-looking result. This should be done very infrequently, given the potential longevity of hyaluronic acid fillers.
What if my lips are overfilled or if I have lip filler migration?
With lip filler treatments readily available, overfilled lips are becoming a more common concern. This may result from too frequent lip filler treatments or excessive amounts of lip filler being injected.
A concern that is related to overfilling is lip filler migration. This is when the lip filler moves out of the vermillion (the body of the lip) into the cutaneous (skin) part of the lip. This can also be a result of filler misplacement. It increases the protrusion of the lip and can be visibly obvious. This finding is also seen on MRI scans, where filler can be seen outside of the vermillion.
The treatment for overfilling and migration is to dissolve the lip filler with injections of the enzyme hyaluronidase. This is administered via needle or cannula to the areas of overfilling or filler migration. The dissolving and subsequent swelling that occurs from hyaluronidase often take more than a day to subside, however, the results are often seen within 24 hours.
The lips can then be refilled with smaller amounts of filler with careful attention to placement to avoid migration.
What do aesthetically pleasing lips look like?
It is essential to have lips that fit your face appropriately. For example, smaller lips may be more appropriate for people with smaller faces, eyes, and noses. Over-enhancing lips in such a person could create a false or unnatural appearance.
As a general rule, the bottom lip should also be larger than the top lip. The Golden Ratio or Phi suggests the upper lip lower lip ratio should be 1:1.618.
Rickett’s e-line (esthetic line) suggests that the upper lip should be 4mm behind and the lower lip 2mm behind a line drawn from the nose to the chin on the profile.
Generally speaking, lips should not be shapeless or look like two frankfurts stacked on top of each other. The natural shape of the lip should be maintained, and this is generally this is more fullness centrally tapering to less fullness laterally.
How much are lip fillers in Melbourne?
The practitioner will discuss this with you in your initial consultation as the lip fillers cost will vary depending on the amount and type of filler used.
Click here for the full price list.
How long does lip filler last?
The appearance of lip fillers will last around 6 months, but the injectables will stay in your face for much longer than that. It is best to wait at least 6-9 months between treatments.
Without local anaesthetic, there is some discomfort associated with lip filler injections from passing the micro-cannula through the lips. If a local anaesthetic is injected, this discomfort is minimised or eliminated. However, there is a mild degree of discomfort when injecting the local anaesthetic. You may experience some mild discomfort for a day or two afterwards.
Can you get lip filler when pregnant?
You should not get cosmetic injectables when pregnant or breastfeeding because there is not enough research to know the risks to the baby.
How long does lip filler swelling last?
Usually, swelling will remain for 3-7 days afterwards.
How to massage lip filler lumps?
You should not massage any lumps as these will subside on their own. Massaging the lumps can cause the filler to migrate where it is not aesthetically pleasing. If lumps persist, please get in touch with your practitioner. These may require injections of hyaluronidase or filler dissolver.
How long after lip fillers can you kiss?
It’s best to avoid kissing for 24hrs after getting lip fillers to avoid increasing the risk of infection.
Can you dissolve lip filler?
Yes. Lip fillers made with hyaluronic acid can be dissolved using hyaluronidase.
How old do you have to be to get lip fillers in Melbourne?
Legally, you must be 18 years old to request lip filler treatment without parental consent.
Why choose the Victorian Cosmetic Institute as your provider of injectable lip enhancement?
The doctors and nurses at Victorian Cosmetic Institute in Melbourne take time to discuss your personal requirements and preferences as to the kind of lip filler treatment you would like. We utilise specialised techniques such as micro-cannula injections to provide better experiences and outcomes. Our doctors and registered nurses are highly experienced in lip enhancement and skin treatments.
To make an appointment simply click the “book online” button above or call us on 1300 863 824.