These days, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing a picture of a blogger or celebrity sporting an artificially plumped pout. According to data collected by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, requests for lip enhancements increased 50% between 2000 and 2016. That’s a lot of filler.
However, as NewBeauty reports, a different lip trend has been popping up on social media as of late — one designed to reduce the size of the lips. According to New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Melissa Doft, who specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery, lip reduction procedures tend to be more popular in Asian countries. As Dr. Doft explains, the procedure involves "removing skin from the lips along the dry-wet border of the vermillion" and using stitches to create a new lip line. The result is a smaller, thinner pout.
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Though lip reduction is done as an outpatient procedure, make no mistake: It's surgery. Patients are usually placed under local anesthesia during the procedure — which takes between 15 and 30 minutes per lip, depending on the amount of tissue to be removed — and the stitches remain in place for one week, after which they dissolve or are removed manually. The pain, Dr. Doft says, is tolerable, but patients are advised to "eat a soft diet until swelling resolves," which can take anywhere between a couple of days and a week.
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The procedure is also, unsurprisingly, pricier than injections. While fillers can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000 (per syringe), lip reduction surgery averages between $1,000 and $3,000, according to DocShop. Prices higher depending on where you live: In NYC, for example, lip reduction surgery can cost upwards of $7,000. It is, however, permanent, unlike injections, which typically begin to dissolve within a year (and thus require repeat injections to maintain).
On Instagram alone, there are more than 5,000 posts tagged #lipreduction. Still, at least in the U.S., lip augmentation such as fillers remains the facial procedure du jour — and that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. You can see what the procedure looks like below (but be warned — some of these pics are a little graphic). And as always, if you're thinking about getting cosmetic or plastic surgery of any kind, do your research. The best way to ensure a positive outcome is to see a doctor who is highly trained, well-recommended, and board-certified.