Augmenting lips for aesthetic reasons is gaining popularity in western society, but with higher demand, there has also been a growing resistance amongst the general public against the obviously artificial aspects which can be the result of this procedure. Most patients and doctors alike are searching for a more natural appearance than the so-called ‘duck-lips’. Let’s look into the lip tenting technique.
One aspect that needs to be considered prior to treatment is the proportion of the upper lip to the lower lip. In most people, the upper lip is slightly smaller than the lower lip. Furthermore, a narrow upper lip is associated with an aggressive facial expression. This ‘mean’ look is mentioned by a lot of my patients that notice their lips shrinking over the years. All this leads to a much higher demand of upper lip augmentations than lower lip augmentations. It is obvious though that filling only the upper lip can give a disproportional result when the size of the upper lip exceeds the size of the lower lip. People will tend to recognize the lip as being artificially enhanced.
A detail in the shape of the lip which is much appreciated is the curve of the white roll, at the level of the canine tooth. We call this the ‘canine arc’. It is noticeable that most archetypical beautiful faces such as actors and models are blessed with a striking canine arc.
Lip Tenting Technique
The goal of the Lip Tenting technique is to control both shape and volume of the lip during the procedure, lifting the white roll to optimize the canine arc projection. The needle is inserted multiple times hitting the white roll, towards the centre of the lip. As the needle is withdrawn, the hyaluronic acid is injected to give volume inside the muscular part of the lip and to form pillar-like structures that project the white roll. It is important to do so without filling the actual white roll itself to avoid a plump aspect of the lip border.
In the upper lip, the white roll is injected approximately every 3 mm. , from the mouth corner towards the beginning of the philtrum. This will strengthen the canine arc and will enhance the shape of the philtrum by simply not touching it.
In the lower lip, to obtain a natural result it is advisable to start injecting approximately 5 mm. away from the mouth corner, all the way to the centre of the lip to define a nice contour.
This technique will give ample opportunity to control the volume and shape of the lips by adjusting the pressure on the syringe, keeping an eye on the position of the needle tip at all times. In general, young lips will need more volume in the central body of the lip, to obtain a result which is appreciated according to ‘fashion’, whereas in older patients, reconstruction of the lip contour can be more sought after. Moreover, because of the multiple injections, risks of large single volumes of gel giving rise to palpable or even visible lumps are minimal.
Doctor Profile: Dr. Tom van Eijk, Cosmetic Doctor
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
About Dr. Tom van Eijk, Cosmetic Doctor
Based in Amsterdam, Dr. Tom van Eijk is one of Holland’s most famed cosmetic doctors.
After gathering experience in Plastic Surgery for three years, Dr. Tom van Eijk decided in 2003 to concentrate on non-surgical aesthetic treatments by injectables only. In this new and exciting medical field he started experimenting and training his peers how to inject Botox®, Dysport® and HA fillers (Restylane®. He developed the Fern Pattern Technique TM, introducing it in Sweden the Fall of 2005.
In the August 2007, an article on the topic was published in New York Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. This Journal also published his article about the Lip Tenting Technique. The success of Restylane Fern Pattern Technique TM is evident, as Dr. van Eijk has presented these techniques all over the world, from Vancouver to Manila, from Stockholm to Hong Kong.
“One of the great things in this line of work is that you never stop pushing limits. I like the challenge of offering my patients a treatment that is better than I could give them a year ago.”