What are Restylane&Reg; Lip Treatments?

Lynndee Molyneaux

Restylane® is a dermal filler. It looks like a clear gel and is made from hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance that maintains the skin's plumpness and elasticity. With age, the amount of hyaluronic acid in the skin gradually decreases, causing it lose volume and develop lines and wrinkles. Restylane® lip treatments help eliminate these signs of age in the lips.

Restylane lip treatments help eliminate signs of aging in the lips.
Restylane lip treatments help eliminate signs of aging in the lips.

The hyaluronic acid in Restylane® is non-animal based, and is at least 99% identical to that which occurs naturally in the body. It is primarily used to fill in wrinkles and folds in the face, as well as to plump up the lips. Typically, Restylane® lip treatments can last up to six months, which is not as long as it does when injected into other facial areas, due to the significant muscle movement of the lips.

Since Restylane® is so similar to the body's own hyaluronic acid — unlike other hyaluronic acid fillers, which can differ by about 20% — it can be completely metabolized by the body. Also, because Restylane® is not derived from animal sources, there is minimal risk for adverse effects. This usually eliminates the need to test for allergies prior to treatment. In other words, the body is not likely to react to it as a foreign substance, and should metabolize it along with the body's own natural hyaluronic acid. This means that although Restylane® cannot be removed, it gradually dissolves over time.

Prior to having a Restylane® lip treatments, patients typically should avoid certain supplements — including St. John's wort — high doses of vitamin E, aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These should be avoided for one week after treatment as well, because they increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Patients should also advise their doctors if they have a history of facial cold sores, so precautions may be taken to avoid recurrence.

Restylane® lip treatments can be more painful than those done elsewhere on the face, so patients are often given a nerve block, or numbing medication, to anesthetize the area. The doctor administering the treatment then uses a fine-tipped needle to make several small injections in the lips, until the desired results are achieved. Each Restylane® lip treatment generally takes about 30 minutes and results are immediately apparent. Touch-up treatments may be recommended to prolong the results.

After the procedure, patients can generally return to their normal activities immediately. In a some people, negative side effects may be experienced, typically including swelling, bruising, tenderness, redness, and itchiness. These generally subside within two weeks. A cold compress may be used immediately after treatment to minimize swelling. Patients should avoid exposing their lips to extreme hot or cold temperatures, including sunbathing, for a few days after treatment, to minimize the risk of inflammation.

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