I am 50 years old and my lips are very thin, almost disappearing whenever I smile. It makes me self-conscious. I’d want it to be bigger or thicker. Is there any treatment I can undergo to enhance it? Is it safe? How long will it last?

As we age, our lips lose volume just as other areas of the face; the upper "white" lip (or the area between the bottom of the nose and the Cupid’s bow area) gets lengthened, turning the lips inward and making them appear thinner and less full. When we restore volume to this area, it makes the lower portion of the face more youthful in appearance.

Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that can give you fuller, plumper lips. It comes in two main forms: surgical and non-surgical.

Surgical lip augmentation was quite popular. Lip implants made of preformed silicone, or even fat harvested from other sites of the body, can be placed into the lips via small incisions at the corners. This is often done at the same time as other facial surgery. The advantage of surgery for fat transfer is that it is a procedure that is long-lasting, and in most cases permanent.

[I want to regain my flat, firm tummy]

The immediate cost is often greater than non-surgical options, but the long-term cost is relatively low, as these will likely last for years.

Some of the disadvantages of this surgery is the downside or recovery include a week or few days of prolonged swelling, risk of future infection or motion of the implant. Also, as we age, the volume and position of these implants do not remain static. Patients who have undergone lip implants 10 years ago, may feel that their implants are not on the same position and the volume of the lips themselves are changed over the years. In some cases, this necessitates the removal of the implants for either comfort or visibility.

But these days, an injectable dermal filler is the most commonly used method of lip augmentation.

There are many types of lip fillers, but the most common fillers today are Hyaluronic Acid Fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. The fillers tend to be "hydrophilic" as well, which means they attract water and can add to the plumping effect of the filler. They are injected into the soft tissue of the lip to increase lip volume and size. This procedure will only take about 10-15 minutes to perform.

The advantages of this procedure are the low downtime or fast recovery, low risk to any infections and is reversible. The disadvantages are the cost of repeat injections and the lack of permanence, as the longest results usually are 4-6 months. However, time and change should also be taken into consideration. Although removing or reversing the surgical procedure is not impossible by any means, injections in most cases can be reversed much more easily, specifically hyaluronic acid fillers.

Ways to improve lip appearance range from temporary filler injections to lip implant surgery. But many patients choose to start with a temporary treatment and later progress to a longer-lasting treatment.

Dr Chadi Jaber is a plastic surgeon at Bloom Aesthetic and Laser Centre. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.