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Posted 10th Jan 2024

How to Avoid Overfilling Lips - Filler Technique Advice

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Knowing how to avoid overfilling lips will help you on your journey to becoming a safe and ethical aesthetics practitioner.

Lip fillers are a highly popular treatment, however, overfilled lips can create an unnatural appearance.

The possibility of ending up with over-treated, unnatural-looking results is something many aesthetics patients say makes them nervous about having this treatment. But, as a well-trained aesthetic medicine professional, you should be able to put your patients’ minds at ease.

Our Clinical Trainer and aesthetics specialist Dr Janine Rothburn explains how overfilling can produce undesirable lip augmentation results. She also explains how this can lead to serious complications, so you can take a more informed approach to these treatments.

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Why is it important to avoid overfilling lips?

Dr Janine explains, “Overfilling the lips should be avoided as it can lead to filler migration, commonly known as ‘duck lips’ or a ‘trout pout’. It can also increase the risk of lumps in the lips.

“Placing too much lip filler in one session should be avoided. This increases the risk of vascular compromise, which can have serious consequences”, she stresses.

It’s also useful to consider techniques for thin lips and mature lips.

What factors are most likely to lead to new injectors to overfilling?

“There are various elements that can lead new aesthetics practitioners to overfill lips”, Dr Janine states.

“Firstly, patients can be very persuasive and as a new injector, it’s quite easy to be cajoled into using a full 1ml syringe. Using a full 1ml syringe in a single session is not suitable for every patient and selection is key”, she continues.

“New practitioners may also be unfamiliar with dermal filler products. This may lead them to use a thicker product in the lips which could result in overfilling”, Dr Janine explains.

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How do aesthetics practitioners avoid overfilling the lips?

Dr Janine recommends, “The best way to avoid overfilling lips is to use a small amount of a soft product - a ‘less is more’ approach.”

When it comes to different tools, she notes that “Using a needle or a cannula should not affect whether the lips become overfilled. However, you must be mindful to stay in the body of the lips and to ensure that the vermillion border is not injected if not appropriate.”

Tiny boluses or threads of lip filler can be injected to the vermillion border to create definition if indicated. However, this area is prone to over-treatment, where outcomes can look unnatural, especially as filler migration can often occur here.

What should injectors do if they feel they’ve over-treated?

“If you believe you’ve overfilled a patient’s lip straight after the treatment, my advice would be to review after about 4 weeks,” Dr Janine suggests.

“The lips are extremely vascular, so bruising is common after treatment. Lip filler injections cause local trauma and this can cause inflammation and swelling of the lips. The hydrophilic properties of hyaluronic acid-based lip filler can also cause the lips to swell. Thus, allowing time for these side effects to settle is important before reviewing the patient,” she emphasises.

“If, at the review appointment, you and the patient believe the lips have been overfilled, consider hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler.”

However, Dr Janine notes, “Dissolving has risks in itself. A thorough and detailed discussion of risks vs benefits should be carried out before deciding to dissolve any filler.”

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Dr Janine’s tips for avoiding over-filled lips

“Lips are one of the most difficult areas of the face to treat. The key to injecting lips well is to use small volumes and choose a soft product”, she advises.

Urging aesthetics practitioners to “Remember to stay in the subcutaneous layer. This minimises the risk of complications eg. lumps or vascular occlusions.”

She adds, “Another tip for treating the lips is to assess for pre-existing asymmetry and assess the dentition of the patient. Always take photographs of this and document them.

“Lips are a journey and it may take a couple of sessions to get the desired result - but it will be worth the wait”, Dr Janine assures.

Learn to inject lip filler safely, precisely and ethically

As Dr Janine mentions, lip filler can be one of the most difficult treatments to administer. This is especially true if you’re a new practitioner in aesthetic medicine. At Harley Academy, we believe every injector should feel confident in their abilities to provide filler treatments, safely and ethically.

The Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers is designed to upskill doctors, dentists, nurses and clinical pharmacists. A Master’s level medical aesthetics qualification, the Level 7 is Ofqual-regulated and JCCP-approved. You’ll get the chance to treat your own patients - never sharing - in a real working clinic while building your understanding of anatomy.

Looking for a more tailored course to improve your injecting skills in this particular area? The Perioral & Lip Filler Masterclass allows you to improve your lip filler techniques. You’ll learn to effectively use a needle and cannula and get hands-on experience under expert aesthetics guidance.

Book a call today with one of our Course Advisors and discover what medical aesthetics courses are available to you.

All information correct at the time of publication.

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