How Do I Massage Lip Fillers?

If you’re wondering if you should massage your lips after getting lip fillers, maybe we should start with a bigger question: “What do I need to do after lip fillers to minimize my swelling and minimize my problems?” I think that depends a little on who injects you and what they think. I’ll tell you what my opinion is.

Should I ice my lips after fillers, or do anything else?

After lip fillers, I like to have the patient gently massage their lips, a finger inside, a finger outside, and gently massage. I don’t want them to tightly compress, because they’re going to squash the filler, and early on they could push fillers into a different area of the lip. But if it’s light massage, they’re mildly compressing the area, and diminishing the swelling around the filler. The goal is simply to minimize the swelling. Also, ice helps and inactivity helps. I like ice, I like a little pressure, and a little bit of gentle massage for a couple of days.

Is it normal for my lips to be swollen or uneven after the procedure?

Swelling happens after lip injections, and we’ve got to avoid things that make us bleed into our lips. Lips are vascular areas and we don’t want to bleed into our lip. It’s normal to have some swelling, and we just want to minimize it.

Swelling can happen more on one side than on the other side, so a little bit of early unevenness is not uncommon. Don’t be too distressed if you have that right away. On the other hand, if you have uneven swelling two or three weeks after the procedure, when the swelling should be mostly dissipated, then that could be an issue. In those cases, you may want to go back and see your practitioner, your doctor, or the nurse who injected you. Again, I like gentle massage, not too heavy compression. I like when patients are inactive, and they don’t go to the gym. I prefer they don’t do a lot of strenuous activity right afterwards, and those things help them manage their swelling after lip fillers.

How often do I have to get lip fillers?

This is a question I always get. It’s a very reasonable question, but there’s not a straightforward answer to this. And here’s why. If I were to ask a patient that gets hair coloring how often they get their hair colored, they may give me one answer. If I ask 10 other people, they give me answers all over the place. Part of that is how long the hair color lasts on them, and part of it is how tolerant they are as their natural color comes back. The question I pose to any of my patients is: “How tolerant are you of your smaller lip coming back?” Because lip fillers sort of get a little smaller with time.

The right time to come back is when the patient wants to get injected again. Now, having said that, what’s the range? Well, my cosmetically-aggressive patients may get injections every three and a half or four months — in order to maintain a really “full” look. People who are more tolerant may get it every eight months.

I get a lot of patients that say to me, “I eat up the filler. It may be because I work out a lot.” I’m not sure that’s really what’s going on. I think they’re just less tolerant as their lip gets smaller. So, when their lip is 70 percent or 60 percent of the size it was immediately after fillers, these patients are ready to come back in to get “topped off.”

Have questions about lip fillers?
Email Dr. Sykes at hello@sykesplasticsurgery.com

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About Dr. Jonathan Sykes

Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution.

He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, facial rejuvenation surgery including facelifts, and rhinoplasty. He also has a particular interest in facial feminization surgery. Have questions? Email Dr. Sykes at hello@sykesplasticsurgery.com.