You may have seen the recent media coverage about Katie Price and her ‘butterfly lips’. A novel approach to lip filler, butterfly lips are an evolution of the well-known Russian lip technique. So, what are butterfly lips, what does the treatment involve, is it safe, and do the results live up to the hype?
What are butterfly lips?
Butterfly lips are a new trend in lip fillers. Named because of the shape that is similar to butterfly wings, the butterfly lip filler technique draws on principles of the Russian lip technique. It involves vertical injections of lip filler to add height to the lips and define the Cupid’s Bow in the same way as Russian lips. After the filler has been injected, the lips are strip-taped, with the goal of preventing filler migration, and allowing the filler to settle in position giving the lips high-definition.
An interesting step used in some butterfly lip filler treatments is filler dissolver injections immediately before re-injecting fresh lip filler. After dissolving, a wooden spatula is used to push the ‘melted’ filler down into the lips and to prevent the newly injected lip filler from migrating.
How is the butterfly lip technique different to Russian lips?
Butterfly lip filler is very similar to Russian lips, however it involves the use of extra steps that are claimed to treat pre-existing lip filler migration and prevent the newly injected lip filler from migrating.
Any pre-existing lip filler that has migrated is first dissolved. A small wooden spatula is then used to push the dissolved filler down into the lips. New filler is then injected to the lips i a vertical fashion and the lips are then taped in a specific pattern to hold the filler in shape.
Do butterfly lip fillers migrate?
Butterfly lip filler is just as prone to migration as Russian lip filler. While the use of strip tape is claimed to prevent migration, this is unproven and highly unlikely to be true. Dermal filler is a gel that integrates with the lip tissue over a number of weeks. The final position of the lip filler is determined by the type and volume, the injection technique, and the density of your lip tissue. While the tape will prevent swelling from progressing beyond the lips (a big reason why the after treatment appearance looks so defined and full), it is not strong enough to have any impact on how the dermal filler settles.
Is it safe to dissolve and re-inject lip filler in the same appointment?
Dermal filler dissolver is a powder that is dissolved in a liquid known as normal saline before injection. When injected, the dissolver disperses reducing the precision. The use of a spatula to push the dissolved filler into the lips will also move the dissolver into the lips. The issue here is that dermal filler dissolver has a long period of action, with some evidence showing that it continues to dissolve dermal filler for up to 48 hours. This means that immediately re-injecting dermal filler in the same location and same appointment when dermal filler dissolver has been administered is going to lead to the newly injected dermal filler to dissolve as well. Dermal filler should never be re-injected in the same area when dissolver has been used in the proceeding few days at an absolute minimum. Furthermore, swelling after dermal filler dissolver makes it difficult to determine where to inject dermal filler. This is why cosmetic medicine experts advise waiting 2 weeks between dissolving filler and re-injecting, to allow time for any swelling to subside so that the new dermal filler can be injected with precision.
Are butterfly lips safe?
The use of dermal filler dissolver and dermal filler in the same appointment as well as injecting filler into the lips vertically makes the butterfly lip technique a higher-risk treatment. When dermal filler dissolver has been used, you are more likely to have an uneven result, filler migration and severe swelling that can compress blood vessels and compromise blood supply.
The added use of tape which contains the swelling may also cause significant local pressure on the lip tissue, prolonging the recovery period and again increasing the risk of compromised blood supply.
Does the butterfly lip filler technique get good results?
The use of the butterfly lip technique without dermal filler dissolver is no more likely to get good results when compared with the Russian lip technique. When using dermal filler dissolver in the same appointment you are very unlikely to get satisfactory results because the dissolver will affect the newly injected dermal filler. Butterfly lip fillers have no advantages over other techniques, and have more risks and are likely to have prolonged downtime due to pronounced swelling and bruising.
Why do people get butterfly lip fillers?
Butterfly lip fillers are just another marketing tactic that uses ‘trends’ to catch attention. In medicine, new does not equal good nor safe, and you should be very cautious of any practitioner offering butterfly lip fillers.