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Lip Flip: Is it the new lip filler?

By Dr Giulia D’Anna, BDSc, MRACDS, FIADFE, Grad. Dip. Derm. Ther Cert IV TAE, Grad. Cert Leaser, Email: giulia@dermaldistinction.com.au

In the ever-evolving landscape of beauty preferences, thin or more substantial, both sets of lips are undeniably beautiful, catering to personal aesthetic goals and preferences. While lip fillers remain a popular choice for enhancing lips, not everyone seeks a change in shape or size. That’s where understanding and offering various injection techniques become crucial.

This article delves into the mechanics of a lip flip, explaining how it works, identifying suitable candidates, detailing expected results, and more.

Unravelling the Lip Flip science

To comprehend the concept, let’s address the fundamental question: What is a lip flip? Unlike traditional fillers, a lip flip is a non-surgical procedure utilizing Botulinum Toxin to relax muscles above the lips. This induces a subtle upward turn of the lips, creating the illusion of fullness and preventing inward turning during speech or smiles. Additionally, it aids in reducing wrinkles on the upper lips.

Selective parts of the Orbicularis Oris muscle are selectively treated, so that curling in of the lip is moderated. Since the lip cannot curl in, the patient will notice that the lip sits nicely more overtly.

This created a faux lip filler effect, since more of the vermillion is noticeable.

Ideal candidates for a Lip Flip

Recommended for individuals with existing lip volume seeking a subtle enhancement, the lip flip does not add significant volume but can enhance facial harmony, providing a more youthful appearance. It may also help improve a gummy smile. However, those whose professions involve frequent lip movement, such as speakers, musicians, or singers, may not be ideal candidates due to potential limitations in lip pursing. Patients that have a denture or orthodontic appliance that requires the lip to help hold it in position, are not suitable candidates. An example would be a patient that is undergoing a dental implant in the anterior segment of the mouth. A temporary plate will be cumbersome if the orbicularis oris muscle is weaker.

lip flip before and after



Where Botulinum Toxin meets the lip

During a lip flip procedure, the practitioner injects Botulinum toxin above the upper lip, relaxing the orbicularis oris muscle surrounding the mouth. Additional targeting of lip elevator muscles on the sides of the nose may occur to correct hyperactivity in the upper lip. Both procedures separately to together in the ideal candidate can create an improvement in the soft tissues of the perioral region without being invasive or permanent.

Calculating botulinum toxin units for the flip

Typically, practitioners inject four to six units of Botulinum toxin for a lip flip, adjusting up to eight units for those with excessive gingival display. Personalized dosages depend on individual characteristics, ensuring a natural look.

A skilled practitioner assesses each patient’s needs for optimal results. Remember that the higher the dose, the longer it lasts. But the downside is that there can be functional deficits that are induced. As mentioned already, it will be difficult to pucker, sip through a straw or keep a denture in, if the patient wears one. So it is crucial that you discuss these points with your patient before proceeding.

Navigating Lip Flip side effects

Patients undergoing a lip flip may experience normal side effects such as swelling and bruising, usually resolving within a few days. These side-effects can occur for any injectable procedure, including dental anaesthesia, so informed consent is essential as usual. The initial sensation of “strangeness” in the lips is temporary, as the relaxed muscle adjusts over time. Higher doses mean a longer lasting result, but also a more profound paralysis of the orbicularis oris muscle. It is important that you educate your patient in expected longevity of results.

Reveling in results

Visible effects emerge within three to four days, with the full outcome materializing in about 14 days or 2 weeks. For those planning ahead for events or travel, a two-week buffer post-procedure is recommended to allow any lingering effects to subside fully.

It is important to note that whilst a lip flip is easy to perform and low risk, it will not replace lip filler. Lip filler will physically increase the volume of the lip and also give the practitioner some control over the shape of the lips. Additionally lip filler can correct asymmetry of lip shape and volume, which cannot be achieved with the use of botulinum toxin.

The lifespan of a Lip Flip

On average, a lip flip lasts around 3-4 months, with variations based on individual metabolism. As mentioned already, although higher doses achieve a longer lasting effect, we do not want a negative experience for our patients. I would recommend starting at lower doses before increasing the dose to a higher than average amount.

Athletes and those with high metabolic rates may experience a shorter duration. The secret to a natural pout lies in seeking a skilled practitioner with proper training, ensuring beautiful results without compromising functionality.

In summary, the artistry of a lip flip requires a meticulous approach, where a proficient practitioner not only administers Botulinum toxin accurately but also considers each patient’s unique characteristics for an aesthetically pleasing and functional outcome.

If you would like to learn the technique of a lip flip or lip filler, contact us at www.dermaldistinction.com

Dr Giulia D’Anna

Dermal Distinction Academy

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