Younger clientele pursuing lip perfection

by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist DAVID GARDNER Posted on February 11, 2013 at 6:27 PM

AUSTIN — It’s a treatment designed to produce the perfect lips. While the treatment isn’t new, one Austin plastic surgeon says he’s seeing a significantly younger clientele than what he did when the product was first introduced years ago.

Gertie Murray of Austin is a makeup artist and a lobbyist. To do her job she says she has to keep up appearances.

“It’s absolutely key,” she said. “Working in the lobby field and also in the beauty industry, it’s extremely important.”

Murray has come to the Piazza Center for Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skin Care in Southwest Austin to correct what she says is an imperfection in her lips.

“I really just wanted to even out my lips,” said Murray. “My bottom lip is a little fuller, so I’m just wanting a little evenness. I don’t want that duck-billed look.”

Murray has opted for a treatment involving injectable fillers.

“It’s about placing volume back in tissues, like lips that are missing volume and may even have a volume deficit,” said Rocco Piazza, M.D., a board certified plastic surgeon. “We can increase the volume of that envelope and help the patient achieve the lip fullness that they desire.”

Piazza will inject about half a syringe or more into the patients lips. The injectable filler is hyaluronic acid that is a naturally occurring complex sugar molecule. Similar to a sponge, its primary function is to bind and absorb water molecules which creates volume in the face. Hyaluronic acid fillers work by replacing the hyaluronic acid in the body that has depleted over time.

Murray is just 28. She’s part of a much younger demographic Piazza says is opting for the procedure.

“That’s very different from what I saw three years ago,” said Piazza. “(In the past) I was having an older patient population really interested in lip augmentation, and now it seems to have moved to a much younger population.”

Murray likes the fact that the fillers are supposed to last up to a year.

“It’s not permanent,” she said. “I’m not implanting anything unnatural into my body, so it’s just simpler. It’s just an injection. It’s not forever.”

The treatment takes just a few minutes and costs about $500 per full syringe. Piazza recommends all his patients use sunscreen to keep their skin looking young and thus avoiding further damage from UV light.

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