Lip fillers. After thinking about it for a full year, I got them. And I promise you: we will get to my Juvéderm® before and after photos shortly! But first let me tell you a bit about the plastic surgeon I went to in Toronto to have my lip fillers done (Dr Weinberg, who also practises in Mississauga), and why I wanted to go in the first place.
If you think aging naturally is for you, please accept this virtual high five. I think that’s amazing. For you. But I’ve said publicly many times that although I want to age gracefully, I’m not going down without a fight. Gracefully doesn’t necessarily mean naturally! Surgical procedures scare me a little, but non-surgical cosmetic adjustments are fair game.
If we’d had this conversation five years ago, however, I would have told you there’s no way I would inject anything into my lips. I have always had symmetrical, plump lips that wore gloss and lipstick beautifully. They’ve always been one of my favourite things about my face. Gradually, though, I started to see fine lines around my top lip, which was hardly noticeable with gloss but lipstick started feathering. They started to look…old.
Then, curiously, over the past two to three years, my upper lip has gotten thinner. Maybe people with already-thin lips don’t notice this over time or maybe I’m especially conscious of the difference because there’s so much photo evidence of my face kicking around thanks to my job.
Whatever the case, my thinning upper lip also meant that my smile was becoming gummier by the year. Without as much fullness, my smile — which was once predominantly toothy and lovely — started to show a lot of the gum line above my lips.
Let’s call this what it is: vanity. And I’m good with that. It’s part of who I am, and I like being happy when I look in the mirror or at photos.
So I started contemplating non-surgical lip filler about this time last year — reading about the pros and cons, looking at before and after photos, researching different doctors, talking to friends who’d had it done. I asked a lot of questions and even went to a Juvéderm event to learn more.
I ultimately settled on Dr Weinberg. His team’s answer to this question I had after reading a few horror stories is what clinched the deal. I asked: “I read that lips can stretch and later be almost kind of ‘saggy’ due to fillers. Any truth to that?”
The response: “Lips can loosen after filler wears off, but if — and only if — you go to extremes. This is why it is important for you to visit a reliable injector, like Dr. Weinberg, who was specifically chosen by Q-Med, original makers of Restylane®, as a trainer for other physicians, and is acknowledged by the makers of Botox Cosmetic as an expert injector. Dr. Weinberg assures natural-looking results to enhance the lips, not making them look fake or overdone.”
As one of the best plastic surgeons in Toronto, I was comfortable seeing Dr Weinberg based on his reputation alone.
He’s been a Royal College-certified plastic surgeon since 1996 and practises in both Toronto and Mississauga. He’s the Division Head of Plastic Surgery at Trillium Health Centre, and also teaches medical students. I don’t know why that gives me extra confidence, but it does.
Doctor Michael Weinberg is the founder of the Mississauga Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Clinic, which is a CAAASF-accredited surgical facility. He sees surgical patients at the Toronto Plastic Surgery Clinic as well.
And that’s where I found him — at his clinic in Yorkville (which is basically Plastic Surgeon Row).
I was drawn to Dr Weinberg because he specializes in natural-looking lip fillers. We chatted for quite a while and it was clear that he’ll turn patients away who come looking for unrealistic or unnatural results, people who seem to be suffering from body dysmorphia or who have expectations that he knows no one will ever be able to satisfy.
Part of creating that “natural” look comes from two key things that Dr Weinberg explained to me in his office:
- No injections on the vermilion line. That’s the line around the edge of your lips that creates the border, if you will.
- No more than a vial of lip filler.
As we talked about the kind of results I was looking for, I emphasized that I wanted subtlety and was really just trying to restore the volume I’d lost in the past few years and smooth out the fine lines that made my lipstick wonky. I also told Dr Weinberg that I hated the gummy smile that had emerged.
He suggested we start slowly with the amount of filler but also add some Botox below each outer corner of my nostrils, which helps prevent the gumminess along with a small amount of Botox in my upper lip to reduce the fine lines.
This seems like the right place to note that I am no stranger to Botox. I’ve been getting Botox’s cousin, Dysport®, on my forehead in small amounts since I was 40 and I had tried the “Botox lip flip” last year in an effort to get my lips back, but really didn’t like the effect or the feeling of not being able to drink normally without a straw. Plus, I was still “gummy.”
I’m comfortable with how subtle and effective Botox can be (truthfully, most people are very surprised when I tell them I’ve been getting it for four years because I can still emote so well!) so there was no need for me to ask any additional questions.
Do lip fillers hurt?
The next time I have this done, I’ll film it, but with fear of the unknown busting down my mental door, I can only describe the procedure. First, Dr Weinberg gave me an ice cube wrapped in a latex glove to put against the areas on my lips where he was going to inject the lip filler. This helps numb the area.
Well, let me tell you: your lips are very sensitive! And even though I have a high pain threshold, the doctor saw me wincing after the first couple of jabs. He paused, put a bib on me and removed the ice cube from the glove. He warned me that my shirt would probably get a bit wet but assured me that putting the ice cube directly on my skin — without the glove as a buffer — would help. It did.
The only time I really felt uncomfortable was when Dr Weinberg was injecting the centre of my bottom lip and moved the needle from one side to the other. That tugging motion was not fun.
However, was it painful? I guess it depends on your definition of pain. I would describe it more as uncomfortable. But I also gave birth without drugs. (THAT IS PAINFUL.) Could I do it without the ice? PROBABLY NOT. Was it uncomfortable enough that I wouldn’t do it again? NOPE. I would absolutely, positively do it again without hesitation.
There is lidocaine (an anesthetic that blocks pain) built into the Juvéderm product that Dr Weinberg used during my procedure, so that helps minimize overall pain as well and I certainly didn’t feel any pain at all as he smoothed out the gel that was now sitting in my lips.
Surprisingly, I didn’t experience any pain after the procedure either. So once it’s over, it’s over.
Juvéderm is non-surgical lip filler
Before we get to my Juvéderm before and after photos, let’s chat for a sec about what the heck Juvéderm actually is.
Juvéderm is a hyaluronic acid gel. Hyaluronic acid is simply a big name for a sugar that’s found naturally in the body.
Injectable dermal filler can be used to treat many areas where there are wrinkles and folds that a patient wants to reduce or eliminate, but hyaluronic acid for lips is specifically for lip augmentation or to correct asymmetry.
While it’s not the only non-surgical lip filler product available, one of the things I learned at the event I mentioned earlier was that Juvéderm gel is smooth, whereas some hyaluronic gel products can have a more granular consistency.
After having Dr Weinberg move the gel around in my lips once it was injected, I assure you that you want something malleable! Anything granular would feel soooo bizarre.
I think the best lip filler is the filler that’s safely injected by a professional in an amount that suits your face. In the end, we didn’t even inject three-quarters of a vial into my lips and that’s because Dr Weinberg listened to my needs.
My Juvéderm before and after photos
OK, I know this is what you’ve been waiting for: my Juvéderm before and after photos!
Here’s a reminder of what my lips — and gums! — looked like before I had lip injections.
Here’s an easy Juvéderm before and after side-by-side comparison:
My results were so natural that my own children didn’t notice. I went to a big family wedding just four days later and no one had any clue I’d had anything done there either. To this day, I don’t think my mother even knows I get my forehead done, much less my lips.
And that, to me, is the point. I don’t want to look 25, but I don’t mind freezing time just a bit.
My lips don’t feel weird or numb or like they don’t belong to me at all, and I even add lip-plumping gloss on occasion just to add a little dramatic oomph.
Lip injections after-care
Immediately after getting lip fillers, you may find that there’s some bruising for a few days. Lip filler swelling is also a very real thing, and it’s one of the biggest reasons that I booked myself into a hotel within walking distance of Dr Weinberg’s office. I’d Googled some post-procedure photos and I didn’t want to scar my kids for life. You just can’t un-see that kind of thing.
Read my Anndore House review to see why I chose to convalesce there after my lip filler appointment with Dr Weinberg.
Within the first 24 hours, I was cautioned to avoid:
- strenuous exercise (so no Orangetheory Fitness for me right away!)
- excessive sun or exposure to heat
- alcoholic beverages
Twenty-four hours later, I enjoyed five glasses of wine very successfully.
Dr Weinberg also mentioned that I should feel around for any nodules, which can occur and just need to be massaged a bit to dissipate (similar to what can happen after a SculpSure® treatment.)
Curious about non-surgical liposuction? Read about my SculpSure results and experience.
In the end, my bruising and swelling wasn’t severe at all and I probably didn’t need to stay overnight in Toronto — but that three-day escape built just for me sure was nice. And I went home without any hint of the procedure’s side effects and my kids were none the wiser.
Here’s how my healing went…
18 hours after lip filler
I had no pain and very minimal bruising but definitely needed to wear opaque lipstick to cover the little bruises at some of the injection sites:
48 hours after lip filler
The bruising gets worse before it gets better (but doesn’t hurt) and I worried that I’d still be in dark-lipstick-wearing mode for a wedding that weekend:
4 days after lip filler
I woke up on day four and there was no more bruising at all, my lips looked more hydrated and I was able to wear a very light-coloured lip gloss:
I’ve been keeping my lips luscious both before and after lip filler with a regular (and very inexpensive) lip care routine that includes a gentle scrub and lip oil, and as I write this post six weeks after my procedure, I can say that they’re just as beautiful as they were on day four!
Cost of Juvéderm lip injections
I know you’re all wondering how much lip fillers cost. I can only tell you what my personal procedure would cost with Dr Weinberg, because of course every clinic and plastic surgeon would have different rates.
For the two units of Botox under my nose, the three total units of Botox along my upper lip and up to one vial of Juvéderm lip filler, Dr Weinberg said it would be in the $650-750 range. Considering the “plumpness” will last 8+ months, I’d be comfortable maintaining my lips over time.
Dr Weinberg also mentioned that if within the next eight months I feel like my lips aren’t still plump to come back for an adjustment. This is part of his commitment to his patients and his confidence in the products he uses.
If you have any questions that I didn’t cover here, feel free to ask.
DISCLAIMER: Dr Weinberg provided me with this service to facilitate the review. All opinions are my own.
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