- My lips are swollen, lumpy, and a little uneven, when will they get better? This is the most commonly asked question on Realself.com. The lips take about 7-10 days to settle down after getting filled. Restylane Silk will swell the most of all the fillers. Juvederm, and Restylane are the most commonly used fillers and the swelling and lumps will all even out gradually over the first week. Sometimes there is asymmetrical swelling, and that usually evens out too. Elevating the head of bed will help lessen the swelling. Unless there is bruising, ice will not change the swelling, nor will antihistamines. The swelling is most often related to the HA filler absorbing water from the surrounding tissues. On an extremely rare occasion, the lips and surround tissues swell abnormally, and this is called angioedema. This most often occurs in people that take a blood pressure medicine that is in the “ACE inhibitor” family. If this occurs, immediate attention is needed by your doctor or the emergency room.
- I’m very bruised, when will it go away? Bruising is related to technique, not the filler itself. Bruising can take up to 10 days to go away. Early bruising can be treated with a laser (VBeam or Excel V) to decrease the duration to 2 or 3 days. It is best to stop all supplements, anti inflammatories, fish oils, vitamin E, or all other medications that can thin the blood a few days before injections if possible. Aspirin takes 12 days to get out of the system. Cannulas help minimize bruising as does careful technique, but bruising isn’t always avoidable. Arnica will help bruising too.
- My upper lip is very full, is this normal, I look like a fish or duck? There is an art to filling the lips. The upper lip should be smaller than the lower lip by the golden ratio of phi, 1:1.6. If the doctor does not abide by normal anatomic ratios, the lips look done and abnormal. It does not happen to most people and is unrelated to the product injected. It is poor technique by the injector. In ethnic people, sometimes a 1:1 ratio does look normal, but never when the upper lip is larger. Click here to learn about perfect lip anatomy.
- Can the corners of mouth be turned up, I always look sad? The corners of the mouth can be lifted with properly placed filler. Also, an injection with a neuromodulator such as Botox or Dysport can be injected into the depressor angularis oris, DAO, to relax the muscle pulling the corners down. Often, support is also needed in the above the upper lip in the triangle of volume loss near the corner. Also, injection into the corner (commisure) is needed.
- I’m not happy with my lips after injection, what can I do? First thing is to discuss with your injector. After waiting the 10 days, lips that still have bumps, look odd, or are uneven, can be dissolved with hyaluronidase. This is not a precise procedure, so fine tuning is not possible. Most often, one treatment is needed but sometimes 2 are needed. Sometimes a little filler can be added to make things more symmetric. Asymmetries are very frequently noticed after injections by patients, but after careful review of photos, were present before the procedure too.
- I have severe pain, days after the injection. Pain should not be present after about a day or 2 from the procedure. This needs to be discussed with your injector. Concerns would be possible injection, or herpetic outbreak. Severe overfilling can cause this too.
- What can be done for my upper lip lines, “smokers lines”? Upper lip lines, “smokers lines”, are some of the hardest wrinkles to treat. This occurs even in non smokers and is mostly a volume related problem. Best treatments include filler placed horizontally in the white lip or ergotrid (with cannulas), a fine bead of filler along the vermilion border, and a small amount in the lip body. Adding Botox in small amount help too. Don’t expect elimination, just improvement. Longer term solutions are laser resurfacing with ablative lasers, Infini, or dermabrasion.
Restylane has become the number one trusted dermal filler in the world. With over 20 million treatments worldwide, and numerous publish studies, Restylane’s safety and efficacy is well established. It is composed of hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occurring substance that is found in skin and joints. It’s duration of action is about 6-12 months, depending on the location it is placed. (My other blog explains duration in more detail) Crosslinking, a process that joins adjacent strands of the HA, is essential, because the breakdown of the HA would occur in weeks without it.
Restylane is composed of similarly sized HA particles, with a concentration of 100,000 per ml. Perlane, a “cousin” of Restylane, is exactly the same as Restylane, except that it’s concentration is 10,000 particles per ml. Both of these products have been on the US market for years, Restylane since 2005, and Perlane since 2007. Restylane Silk, the newest US FDA approved filler, is composed of 500,000 HA particles per ml.
This means that the Restylane Silk HA particle is 1/5th the size of the regular Restylane HA particle, and that’s the reason behind it’s magic.
Although Restylane Silk was approved in the US in 2014, it has been used under the name Restylane Fine Lines for over 15 years in Canada. There has been a huge experience in Canada using this product to improve superficial fine lines and in LIP ENHANCEMENT. In the US, there are now only 2 FDA approved fillers for the lips, Restylane, and Restylane Silk. Silk is also approved for the perioral area (area around the mouth). It’s the author’s opinion that part of the problem lip enhancement has been disappointing to many patients is that US physicians didn’t have access to the proper filler. Fish lips, sausage lips, uneven lips, overfilled lips have dissuaded many potential patients from ever trying lip enhancement.
The small particle size of Restylane Silk allows the skilled and experienced physician to add product in the very superficial aspect of the lip, in the submucosa. This was impossible with other fillers without lumps being visible. The product spreads in this plane, so only a couple points of injection are needed in each quadrant of the lip. By being so superficial, and with only a couple injection points, the discomfort associated with the injection is markedly decreased. In addition, by staying superficial, and not deep, the risk of a bruise is significantly less. Very precise alloquots of Restylane Silk can be placed along the border of the lip (vermillion), cupids bow and peaks, in the tubercles, and corners of the mouth much easier than the larger particle HA fillers.
The addition of Restylane Silk to the aesthetic physician’s armamentarium fills a necessary niche that was missing in lip enhancement. Patients can now anticipate less bruising, less discomfort, less lumps, with better and more natural results, thanks to the smaller particle size of Restylane Silk.
Realself.com is a public forum for asking questions about cosmetic procedures which patients have had or are thinking of undergoing to the website’s participating physicians. The website allows doctors of the following specialties to respond:
- Plastic Surgeons
- Facial Plastic Surgeons
- Oculoplastic Surgeons
Unfortunately, experience and credentials are not always fully evaluated by the public, and undesired outcomes, often with long term repercussions, can result. Sometimes with only a few weekend courses under their belt, Internists, Family Practitioners, Dentists, ER Physicians or OBGyns hang up a shingle Aesthetic Procedures. An article by Tom Seery, CEO of Realself.com, points out that consumer satisfaction rates are about 30-35% higher when a specialist is performing Botox or Dermal Fillers vs. “all providers”.
Now for the most Botched Cosmetic Procedures:
1. By far, the #1 most botched procedure is tear trough injection with fillers. Complaints range from lumps, prolonged swelling, worsening of appearance, pain, prolonged bruising, vascular injury, numbness, and firm nodules. The skin around the eye is very thin, and there is very little room for error in this procedure. Dr. Weiner is a firm believer that this injection should be performed using blunt cannulas with Restylane. There is less swelling, bruising, and significantly less vascular risk with cannulas. Lesson: Leave this injections to “the pros” for better outcomes and safety.
2. Botox being botched is a close 2nd. Common problems are eyebrow or eyelid droop, uneven smile, ineffectiveness, bruising or swelling, or “Dr. Spock” look. Sometimes a touch up can improve these results, but often one has to wait for the Botox to wear off. This can be 3-4 months. So that deal on Botox that is supposed to improve ones looks becomes a nightmare where one looks abnormal and/or worse. Lesson: Botox deals aren’t usually worth it.
3. Laser hair removal resulting in burns is fairly commonly asked about on Realself. If the laser operator is not using the appropriate laser or settings for one’s skin type, permanent pigmentation problems can result. Fortunately, most superficial burns will reverse over the course of several months. In several states, rules for operating a laser are very lax, allowing techs without significant training to use the laser. Florida is one of the strictest in the country. The operator can only be a nurse practitioner, physicians assistant, doctor, or specially trained electrologist. Lesson: Get the most qualified person to operate the laser, preferably a physician with years of laser experience. Dr. Weiner has over 25 years of laser experience.
4. Lip augmentation with dermal fillers is another highly botched procedure. The most common lip problem is uneveness and lumpiness. These are a direct result of poor technique by the injector. Hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler is usually required, and then you are back to where you started (so 2 procedures to get back to square one). Bruising, swelling, and prolonged downtime is seen when lips are injected using needles in combination with injector inexperience. Dr. Weiner is a huge fan of using blunt cannulas for the lips to minimize the recovery time and bruising. Overfilled, and unnatural lips are also a problem, mainly due to lack of knowledge of the natural anatomy of lips by the provider. Lips should have a ratio of about 40% upper to 60% lower. When the upper lip is larger, or the natural landmarks (tubercle, cupids bow, shape) are not preserved, the lips become obviously “done” and unattractive. The sausage lip is when the lips appear tube like (like a sausage link) which is another common error by the inexperienced injector. Lesson: Lips are another area with several intricacies that require an experienced injector. Cannulas limit bruising, swelling, and downtime so you can enjoy your lips without interrupting your social life.
The take home message is that all providers are not equal. Please do the homework, look at reviews, ask friends, and ask the facility “Who is actually doing my procedure?”. In general, specialty trained physicians will give better outcomes with higher satisfaction rates.