Fast Facts:

  • About: Russian Lip technique is a minimally invasive lip filler technique which aims for a vertical improvement in the lip contour, resulting in a more natural and fuller lip without looking overdone. This advanced technique takes advantage of the retrograde tenting injection resulting in a vertically stretched and flatter appearing lip.
  • Safety: This lip filler treatment is FDA approved as safe and effective minimally invasive treatments for lip augmentation. When administered by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon who has mastered this advanced lip technique, it results in minimal side effects and downtime.
  • Convenience: It only takes 20 – 40 minutes to administer. If performed properly, risks and side effects are minimal and typically last no longer than 1 – 3 days. Patients return to work and engage in normal activities immediately after their appointment.
  • Cost: The cost of the Russian lip in NYC ranges $900 – $1400 per 1 treatment.
  • Efficacy: If performed by an experienced injector using the careful precision needed to achieve the Russian lip, the treatment achieves a shorter philtrum by extending the borders of the top lip superiorly, and at the same time maintains the plumpness of the lip, without the “fake” look.

WHAT IS THE RUSSIAN LIP TENTING TECHNIQUE?

There are several different techniques that can be used to administer a lip filler, all of which professionals describe as “tenting” or pillar techniques. The term “tenting” came from the objective that a filler acts as a “tent pole” in the lip, laying out a structure that will enhance the lips in a particular way.

Hence, it involves the vertical administration of a hyaluronic acid filler into the base of the lip, drawing the filler in retrograde fashion to the vermilion border (the outer edge of the lip). This technique creates an upward turned lip shape, leaving you with a perfect pout, and drawing attention to the center, rather than an outward volume often observed in other tenting techniques. This technique will enhance the cupid’s bow without the lips visibly protruding forward from a side profile.

Aside from the general increase in popularity of lip enhancements and other minimally invasive injectable enhancements, the Russian technique has become one of the most sought after lip filling techniques, due to its natural fullness. A flawlessly contoured lip seen on celebrity favorites such as Kylie Jenner, is something that everyone desires and is completely possible using this advanced lip filler application. Additional benefits include:

  • Added volume and fullness
    Whether your lips are naturally thin, or have lost volume with age, it adds a vertical fullness to otherwise thin lips.
  • Rejuvenation
    This form of lip augmentation almost exclusively uses hyaluronic acid based fillers, which are known for their ability to restore volume and hydration in mature lips. The natural doll like plumpness that comes as a result of the Russian lip injection approach is often preferred by patients who want to rejuvenate their lips, for a softer, less projective result.
  • Symmetry
    Most patients have some level of asymmetry, which is completely natural. The Russian lip technique focuses primarily on the cupid’s bow and the outer edge of the lip, also known as vermillion border, two areas that are key when it comes to the symmetry of one’s lip shape.
  • Ideal philtrum length
    The philtrum describes the ridge located between the base of the nose and the cupid’s bow and is often forgotten about when it comes to traditional lip fillers. Because the Russian Lip technique enhances the lip vertically, it has the ability to shorten a long philtrum, giving the face a less awkward appearance and the lips a “russian doll” look.
  • Smoothing facial wrinkles
    Perioral lines, also known as smoker’s lines, commonly form around the lips as a result of aging and dehydration. Because of its focus on a vertical enhancement of the lip, it indirectly addresses these fine wrinkles along the way.
  • A natural result
    One major fear that patients have is that their lip augmentation could end up looking “ducky” or fake. The Russian lip technique has the advantage of enhancing the body and outline of the lip, while avoiding the outward protrusion seen in many other lip augmentation techniques. This results in a very natural and voluminous outcome.

HOW DOES THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE WORK?

This procedure usually involves injections of a hyaluronic acid based filler. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body, attracting water and expanding in volume when injected into the lips. This lip technique differs from the traditional methods and involves the following:

  • The lips are sanitized with alcohol and numbed using a topical lidocaine cream, which stays on for 15 – 20 minutes;
  • Once the lips have been carefully marked for injection, a hyaluronic acid based filler is injected vertically into various regions of the lip, using a tiny needle (20 mm, 31 Gauge), through entry points along the vermilion border:
    • Cupid’s bow – the primary focus is the center of the upper lip;
    • Body of the lip;
    • Oral commissures (corners of the mouth)
  • With each injection, the syringe (and filler) is drawn upward in the top lip, and downward in the bottom lip, using a tenting technique, to balance the shape of the cupid’s bow out with a natural looking fullness in the center of the bottom lip.
  • Once the injection process is complete, the lips are carefully massaged and molded to create a natural and flawless look to the lips.

On average, 1 – 2 ml of cosmetic injectables are injected during each treatment. The amount is based on the patient’s desired outcome and original starting point.

Swelling and bruising are common side effects in any lip filler procedure. Because these lip injections require more insertion points than the average filler, swelling may last up to 3 – 5 days.

Russian lips side view

WHAT IS THE KEY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE AND NORMAL LIP FILLERS?

Just like most other lip fillers, the Russian lip style utilizes hyaluronic acid based dermal filler to enhance the volume of the lips. However, there are some major differences in the injection technique itself as well as the results, when comparing this innovative lip method to the average lip filler.

Injection:

  • While traditional lip fillers are injected horizontally, often resulting in a “sausage effect”, the Russian lip is injected vertically, to uniformly increase the size of the lip from top to bottom instead of right to left.
  • Because this method requires more entry points than the standard lip filler technique, the procedure itself takes slightly longer (30 – 45 minutes, while a regular lip filler takes 15 – 30 minutes).
  • The entry points are directly on the vermilion border (lip border), which is a less sensitive area, making the injection process less painful.
  • The filler is placed in the superficial subdermal plane, only 1 – 2 mm deep. This is called lip tenting, in which the filler acts as a strut to maintain the newly created shape. This can not be accomplished with a standard lip filling technique.

Results:

  • While traditional lip augmentation results are often wider, the Russian lip results in a taller, coveted heart-shaped lip;
  • There’s more focus on the central part and body of the lip, accentuating the cupid’s bow and drawing the eye to the mid-lip, rather than the outer corners of the lip, which can otherwise result in a “trout pout”.
Russian lip injection technique

WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE?

The ideal candidate is an overall healthy patient who would like to make adjustments to the size and shape of their lip, while avoiding the outward protrusion of “ducky” appearance of a traditional lip filler, maintaining a natural pout.

A good candidate for the Russian lip satisfies the following criteria:

  • Is in good physical health;
  • Has realistic expectations;
  • Wants a natural appearing fullness to their lips;
  • Wants to enhance the size and shape of the upper and lower lip;
  • Wants to decrease the length of the philtrum (distance between base of the nose and cupid’s bow)
  • Wants to shape their cupid’s bow and enhance their philtrum column for a ‘heart-shaped’ lip;
  • Wants more symmetry in their lips.

You should refrain from the Russian lip technique if:

  • You are pregnant;
  • You have an active oral infection, such as canker sores or cold sores;
  • You have a tendency to allergic reactions;
  • You have a personal hypersensitivity to hyaluronic acid;
  • You are looking for a dramatic enhancement to the entire lip with visible enhancement from a profile perspective.
Filled Russian Lips

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE?

The procedure does not require much planning, and can be performed on the same day as your consultation. However, if you do have time to plan ahead, you can take the following steps into consideration:

  • Consultation – Having the opportunity to consult with your injector works in a great way to confirm that you are a candidate for the treatment and to get a feel for your provider, making the entire experience more comfortable.
  • Schedule appropriately – Keep in mind that swelling and bruising are common side effects with any dermal filler, meaning that your treatment should be planned around upcoming events, just in case.
  • Numbing cream – If your provider does not offer numbing cream, you can purchase your own at any pharmacy to avoid discomfort during the injection process.
  • Blood thinners – Blood thinners such as aspirin, ibuprofen, excedrin, and motrip, as well as herbal supplements including ginkgo biloba, ginseng, flax oil, cod liver oil, fish oil, vitamin A, and vitamin E, can cause excessive bruising. Avoid these 3 – 5 days prior to your lip treatment.
  • Alcohol – Avoid alcohol 3-5 days prior to your treatment, as it can lead to increased bruising and swelling.
  • Cold sores – Let your doctor know if you have had, or have cold sores. You will likely be advised to take Valtrex one day prior to your treatment to avoid exacerbation during the injection process.

WHAT IS A RUSSIAN LIP PROCEDURE LIKE?

It is comparable to that of the average lip filler, though the injection process and results are slightly different. The following steps will make up your treatment:

  1. Consultation:
    During your consultation you will discuss a series of important details that will determine your candidacy for this innovative technique. The details of everything you need to know discussed with Dr. Schwarzburg will include:
    • Your overall aesthetic goals
    • Your questions and concerns
    • Your medical history to confirm that it is safe to perform a lip filler on you
    • Taking pretreatment photos to use as a reference point for future appointments.
  2. Procedure:
    Your actual procedure will involve the following steps:
    • A makeup remover is used to wipe off any makeup or residue, followed by sanitation of the treatment area using alcohol;
    • A topical numbing cream containing benzocaine, lidocaine, or tetracaine is applied to your lips 15 – 20 minutes prior to injection to prevent unnecessary discomfort;
    • Once numbed and sanitized, the lips are injected with a hyaluronic acid filler vertically, either through a small hollow needle or a blunt cannula utilizing a retrograde serial puncture technique and gentle artistry in which the lip is molded vertically to create a natural looking, heart shape.
    • The injection process usually takes 30 – 45 minutes;
    • Once finished, the treatment area is sanitized and you will be given an ice pack to reduce swelling and bruising. You will then be able to go home immediately;
    • Rubbing or touching your lips is contraindicated to avoid migration, and exercise should be avoided to reduce the chances of excessive swelling and bruising;
    • If there are any signs of hematomas, you may apply a warm compress on day 2;
    • Your lips will immediately become augmented, though the final results and shape will not be obtained until the swelling and bruising has subsided, within 5 – 7 days post lip treatment.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS FOR THE RUSSIAN LIP?

If performed by an experienced and skilled board certified plastic surgeon, complications are rare. However, every medical procedure comes with the possibility of risks and side effects, including:

Side effects:

  • Swelling (1 – 5 days)
  • Bruising (1 – 5 days)
  • Bleeding at injection site (up to 5 minutes post treatment)
  • Skin irritation (due to swelling your lips may become dry for a few days)
  • Discoloration and tenderness (on the first day)
  • Cold sore reactivation (speak with your doctor before treatment if you have a tendency to develop cold sores)

During the first few days your lips may look asymmetric and disproportionately large due to swelling. Keep in mind that this is part of the process and will resolve once the swelling has gone down.

Complications:

  • Bacterial infection secondary to poor sterile environment;
  • Formation of small nodules, knots, and lumps;
  • Skin necrosis or tissue death secondary to inadvertent vascular compromise;
  • Visual asymmetry;
  • Filler migration secondary to poor placement technique or not following the post care instructions

The difference between an experienced board certified plastic surgeon and an inexperienced or unqualified injector is their ability to safely handle these risks. Be sure to contact your doctor if you experience any of the above mentioned complications so that they can be swiftly resolved.

Russian lip augmentation

WHAT IS THE DOWNTIME AFTER MY RUSSIAN LIP FILLER?

There is no serious medical or social downtime associated with this intervention. However, be careful with your fresh filler 3 – 5 days post treatment, by following as few limitations as previously described to allow your lips to properly heal.

WHAT IS THE AFTERCARE FOR THE RUSSIAN LIP?

Minor side effects do occur with any medical treatment, and to prevent them from worsening, you can:

  • Apply an ice pack right after your lip treatment and throughout the first day to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain.
  • Avoid heat for 48 hrs to decrease swelling.
  • Apply aloe vera, vitamin K, and arnica creams, known to reduce bruising.
  • Do not touch or pucker your lips to prevent your filler from migrating.
  • Wait 30 minutes before you apply makeup.
  • Drink water and limit sodium to reduce swelling.
  • Do not drink alcohol on the first day to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid intense exercise for 1 – 2 days, to reduce excessive swelling and bruising.
  • Apply a warm compress day 2 to reduce bruising.
  • Ask your doctor what kinds of medications you can take to reduce discomfort.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The procedure requires a level of expertise that not every injector possesses. This is why the cost of the Russian lip filler technique ranges $900 – $1400. This also depends on:

  • Type of filler used: some fillers cost more than others, due to composition, quality, and longevity.
  • Amount of filler injected: some clinics offer package discounts depending on how many syringes are purchased, or if other treatments are combined with your filler.
  • Geographical location of the practice: larger cities, such as NYC lip fillers are often pricier than rural areas.
  • Skill, experience level, and your injector’s title: many clinics offer this complex procedure without actually having the experience or skills to execute it. This is why a board certified plastic surgeon, someone who is experienced and possesses an extraordinary skill set, will often charge more than a registered nurse or esthetician, whose expertise is sometimes harder to grasp.

WHAT FILLERS ARE USED FOR THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE?

There are several types of fillers that can be used for lip tenting technique. Dr. Schwarzburg always recommends using a hyaluronic acid based filler due to its many benefits.

One of the most popular fillers is Restylane Kysse, as it is a softer, more subtle filler and uses advanced XpresHAn cross-linking technology, resulting in a smoother finish. However any hyaluronic acid may be used, such as:

  • Restylane
  • Juvederm Ultra
  • Juvederm Volbella
  • Revanesse
  • Belotero
  • RHA

Depending on the original shape and anatomy of the patient’s lips, Dr. Schwarzburg custom selects the filler that he finds most appropriate for each individual.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING HYALURONIC ACID FILLERS?

Hyaluronic acid fillers improve the appearance of your lips by adding shape, structure, and volume. There are several hyaluronic acid fillers on the market including:

  • Restylane (Silk, Kysse)
  • Juvederm (Ultra, Volbella, Voluma, XC) Ultra Plus
  • Belotero (Balance)
  • Revanesse

Hyaluronic acid works great as a lip plumping product, helping to fill in cracks on the surface of your lips and keep the cells loaded with moisture. Once injected, the gel in the filler supports and shapes the tissues of the lips. Other Hyaluronic acid benefits include:

  • Control over lip volume because the amount of product injected can be controlled, making each injection precise;
  • Gradual pace of treatment is crucial as more volume can be added over time and over the course of several sessions for gradual and natural results;
  • Dissolvable: hyaluronic acid can be dissolved using a special enzyme called hyaluronidase, which breaks down hyaluronic acid, fully reversing its effects or unsatisfactory results brought about by inexperienced injectors;
  • Less bruising: HA fillers are associated with less bruising and swelling compared to other dermal fillers;
  • Reasonably lasting results: HA fillers are not permanent, but last 6 – 18 months;
  • Allergic reaction is unlikely: hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, making it unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

CAN THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE BE COMBINED WITH OTHER PROCEDURES?

It  can be combined with a number of treatments to enhance the overall appearance of your face.

  • Botox can be used for a “lip flip” which involves the injection of 5 – 10 units right above the lip to flip the lip upward.
  • Jawline contouring and PDO threads are often combined with this lip contouring method to shape the overall lower face.

Many patients combine under eye filler with their lip filler to rejuvenate more than just

CAN YOU COMBINE BOTOX LIP FLIP WITH RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE?

5 – 10 units of Botox can be injected into the orbicularis oris muscle, located around the lip. This causes the upper lip to flip upward, resulting in additional enhancement.

CAN HYALURONIC ACID FILLERS BE COMBINED WITH BOTOX?

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can be combined with botox as both serve their individual purpose. While a dermal filler can be used to add volume and fill in certain areas of the face, such as the lips, Botox can be used to relax certain muscles to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, for an overall more rejuvenated outcome.

DOES RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE HURT?

Injectables can be uncomfortable sometimes, which is for the most part inevitable. However, a topical lidocaine cream is applied 15 – 20 minutes prior to your injection, in order to ease discomfort. In addition, this unique method requires more superficial injection (only 1 – 2 mm deep), meaning that it will not reach quite as deep as traditional lip filling techniques, making it slightly more tolerable than average lip fillers. All hyaluronic acid fillers contain lidocaine, making the injection process even more tolerable.

WHEN WILL I SEE MY RUSSIAN LIP RESULTS?

Your results are immediate, though swelling and bruising may prevent you from seeing the true shape and final results. Give your new lips a full week to settle to observe your final results.

WHAT WILL MY RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE BEFORE AND AFTER RESULTS LOOK LIKE?

Before your lip filler your lips are likely:

  • Thin
  • Asymmetrical
  • Lacking shape, particularly around your cupid’s bow
  • Dehydrated
  • Wrinkly

After your lip filler your lips will look:

  • Fuller
  • More youthful and hydrated
  • Defined cupid’s bow
  • Ideally sized philtrum
  • Heart shaped

HOW LONG WILL MY RUSSIAN LIP INJECTION RESULTS LAST?

Depending on the type of filler and your personal response to it, your newly augmented lips should last you anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

IS THE RUSSIAN LIP FILLER PERMANENT?

Dr. Schwarzburg uses hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers for this advanced lip filler approach. Hyaluronic acid fillers are not permanent and need to be refilled every 6 – 12 months to maintain results.

DOES THE RUSSIAN LIP FILLER WORK?

Lip filler injections are Food and Drug administration (FDA) approved as a safe and effective minimally invasive treatment to enhance the size and shape of the lips. This lip enhancing approach works to create a vertical fullness to the lip, which is not possible using other lip filling techniques.

IS THIS LIP TECHNIQUE SAFE?

If performed by a skilled, experienced, and qualified injector, this lip technique is safe. Be sure to do your research to confirm that your provider has all the necessary skills to properly execute this technique.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF THE RUSSIAN LIP TECHNIQUE?

Pros:

  • Minimally invasive and non surgical
  • Minimal risks and downtime
  • Creates a natural looking fullness with flattened lip shape

Cons:

  • Not permanent
  • May require more than 1 syringe for optimal results

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND?

  • Research your injector to make sure that he has the necessary skills to carry out the Russian lip technique;
  • Swelling and bruising are normal side effects and will subside;
  • Your results will last up to 12 months and you will need follow up treatments or touch ups to maintain them beyond that time.

TAKEAWAY

The Russian lip technique is an advanced lip tenting technique which can only be performed by the most skilled injectors. Instead of creating outward protrusion, the lip is shaped vertically, resulting in a beautiful and natural looking heart shaped lip. From a side profile, there will be no “ducky” appearance, but a natural fullness.

HOW CAN I GET STARTED ON MY RUSSIAN LIP FILLER?

Skinly Aesthetics Medical Spa, owned and operated by board certified cosmetic physician Dr. Schwarzburg, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan as well as various locations spread out in Downtown New York, Midtown West, Chelsea, Soho and West Village, offers the best Russian lip fillers in NYC.

Skinly is only a few blocks away from New York’s iconic Central Park, and surrounded by Michelin star restaurants such as JoJo by Jean-George, right across the street. The Bloomingdale’s department store on 59th street and Lexington Avenue and other fashion and beauty stores are only a short walk away.

To schedule your appointment with Dr. Schwarzburg at his Upper East Side office in Manhattan please call 212-774-4264 or email: info@skinlyaesthetics.com