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Blog / Dermal Fillers & Volumizers / Facial Contouring, Facial Implants & Lips / The Bullhorn? Or the Mona Lisa? Your Lip Enhancement Options...

The Bullhorn? Or the Mona Lisa? Your Lip Enhancement Options

September 19th, 2016 Share

As many know, my plastic surgery practice is very diversified and unique as my interests are deep and wide. I am always up to new challenges and thinking outside the box. This trailblazing attitude has ended up having an impact on my practice. Among Toronto plastic surgeons, I have now become something of a lip enhancement expert.

I have worked on lips for 15 years, which is unique as a plastic surgeon serving Yorkville and other Toronto-area communities. And in that time, I have seen a wide variety of cases and gained a lot of valuable insight.

A Lifetime of Experience

Like any plastic surgeon interested in continuously evolving his craft, I’ve tried nearly every available filler on the market (including a patient’s own fat via microfat grafting). I’ve even encountered experimental options such as “permanent” dermal fillers. But due to their complications, these types are no longer available on the Canadian market.

Unfortunately, permanent fillers are still available in various less-regulated and less-scrupulous countries. I have consequently accumulated vast experience in treating so-called “botched” or complicated permanent lip augmentation. Lip revisions are common requests sent to me from other plastic surgeons, dermatologists, ENTs, and cosmetic family doctors. Through this process, I help patients regain a healthy, normally-proportioned pout.

I am also one of a very small select group of North American plastic surgeons performing lip lift procedures, another boon for Toronto residents. I describe my techniques of various lip lifts in detail, which includes popular options such as:

  • The Italian
  • The Bullhorn
  • The Corner
  • The Gullwing

These are all techniques of lip lifting, with the primary goal being to shorten the height of the white upper lip (between the red lip and the nose), to create an eversion of the red lip for more lip show, and to increase the teeth showing (with and without smiling).

Lip reduction is also commonly requested in my practice from patients who consider their lips to be too large in proportion to their face. Patients of mixed cultural heritage, or from the Caribbean and Pacific islands, are often individuals requesting lip reduction surgery at my practice.

Natural Beauty & “The Golden Rule”

When discussing lip augmentation, it is crucial to follow the Golden Rule (also known as the Divine Proportions).  This is a ratio that is found all over nature (such as in the structure of a leaf, shell, sunflower, Romanesco cauliflower, egg, etc.). The ancient Greeks built their pantheons with this unique pattern in mind. Great artists such as Michelangelo, DaVinci, LeCorbusier, and Dali have emulated it in their respective artworks.

The Golden Ratio is called phi and equals 1.61803398—which we can round down to 1.6. When applied to lip augmentation and “perfect” lip proportions, the philosophy would be:

  • If the upper lip‘s size is a 1
  • The ideal lower lip would measure 1.6

This ratio can be used as a guideline if one wants to follow nature’s rule of beauty. The approach can apply to many other parts of the face as well.

Your Lip Enhancement Options

My lip enhancement patients come in for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the common cases I encounter.

The Cougar Lip

The so-called Cougar Lip refers to deep creases in the outer upper lip, corresponding to a structural weakness of the upper outer lip. This commonly happens to women as they reach their mid-40s and early 50s (hence the questionable slang term “cougar”).

This lip weakness is real and fixable with products such as Restylane®, JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA® and VOLIFT® when using the fern technique. The deep outer crease on the left and right of the white upper lip have the effect of narrowing the width of the upper lip. Filling up those deep creases and providing them with structure will effectively widen the upper lip and the smile, analogous to filling up deep temples and its effect in lengthening the eyebrows.

The cougar lip does not refer the the many smaller sunray-like lines around the lips, known as “barcode lines” by the French. The “barcode lip” is created by the ongoing activity of the circular muscle around the mouth, which is used in activities such as kissing, pursing, whistling, and smoking. Most Toronto patients simply refer to these as “smoker’s lines.” Smoker’s lines are best addressed with fillers and deep laser resurfacing.

The Mona Lisa Lip

The Mona Lisa Lip is a term I have coined over 10 to 12 years ago to describe my way of framing the lips. When I teach doctors and nurses across Canada, I commonly show them one picture of the Mona Lisa with a fancy frame, and one of the Mona Lisa without. Any painting with a frame will direct the observer towards the painting and make that painting the only object of desire. Framing the lip pulls on this same philosophy.

A tiny amount of filler in the white roll of the vermillion (i.e. where ladies commonly apply their lip liner) will create this natural, anatomic “frame” that makes beautiful lips stand out even more. But caution: too much of it can create the infamous “duck lip,” something not desired by my Toronto ladies. Softly filling up the white rolls (framing) will also help to soften smoker’s lines.

The Heart-Shaped Lip

A heart-shaped lip is a relatively common request among young ladies, referring to a central upper lip augmentation and a single central lower lip augmentation. This is different than a standard full-length augmentation of both upper and lower lips, as one can appreciate on Julia Roberts, for example.

The Parisian Lip

The Parisian lip refers to a specific technique of lip augmentation I learned when I studied in Paris, France. The injector will create vertical pillars, usually in 3 directions, in the meaty parts of the lip along the philtrum column (the cupid’s peaks). This was first developed and described when we were using collagen for the lip and I have since been using this wonderful French technique for my patients here in Toronto.

Lip Augmentation Cost & Recovery

Cost for any of the above varies depending on the technique and filler being used.

Recovery will also vary, with the longest recovery being for the surgical micro fat grafting and perhaps laser resurfacing. Most others only require a short recovery (if any) and the tenderness of most procedures is well managed with topical anesthetic cream and the use of cannula. I must say, my use of the cannula technique has converted most lip augmentation procedures into a “no downtime procedure”.

I perform all the injections in my clinics, where the No-One-Lip-Fits-All principle is respected and embraced. You will be happy to know that I do not have any cookie-cutter way of doing lips; only a personalized and artistic approach for every individual, males and females, and all custom-made.

Each lip augmentation should be treated as a living sculpture. Seek an artistic injector, someone with both the eye and the hand to create the perfect lip for you – a Bespoke lip.

Browse the before-and-after gallery to see real pictures from my own past patients. If you would like to learn more about your lip augmentation options here in Toronto, contact my office online or call (416) 929-9800.