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Wrinkle-smoothing Restylane may now be used as a lip plumper

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Restylane for fuller lips.
Restylane for fuller lips.

The hyaluronic acid gel-based filler Restylane has been safely and legally used by professionals to help give volume to lips for some time now. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially recognized the safety and effectiveness of the treatment for lip augmentation.

The approval is not likely to change practices in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, but will allow the makers of Restylane, Medicis, to market the product as a lip enhancer.

New York cosmetic physician Heidi Waldorf predicted that the change is likely to increase the use of Restylane. However, she said that choosing an experienced medical expert is key to obtaining aesthetically pleasing results.

“More doctors will begin to offer Restylane for lip augmentation due to potential increased patient demand,” said Waldorf. “Nevertheless, both the patient and doctor have to be aware of the importance of balance and shape of the face, including the lips. You don’t want to just treat the lips or the results can be very unnatural and overdone looking.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), an estimated $716 million was spent on enhancements using hyaluronic acid in 2009, which amounts to a 9 percent increase in individuals getting the procedure from the previous year and a 11 percent hike from 2000. Patients who underwent the procedure tended to be women who were age 40 or older. The total number of hyaluronic acid treatments for 2009 was more than 2.1 million, according to the ASPS.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that good candidates for lip augmentation are generally healthy and free of oral herpes or scarring. Additionally, individuals with diabetes, lupus, connective tissue disorders and blood clotting issues may be at a higher risk of complications from the procedure. Patients should also inform their cosmetic practitioner of any allergies or sensitivities before undergoing the treatment.

People who have realistic expectations of the outcome of their lip enhancement are more likely to be satisfied with the results. Individuals should not expect a radical change in their appearance, but a subtle alteration that complements their facial features.

The medical resource reports that Restylane and other hyaluronic acid fillers are unlikely to cause allergic reactions, as the chemical is biosynthetic. Results can be expected to last from six months to one year, according to the Cleveland Clinic.