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A Guide to Fixing Migrated Lip Filler Above Lip Line

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Full, plump lips have become a coveted facial feature, giving your face a more youthful and sensual appearance. While some are naturally blessed with Angelina Jolie-esque lips, most of us need a little help in that department. That’s where lip fillers can work their magic. By expertly augmenting and enhancing your lips, lip fillers can give you the perfectly pillowy pout you’ve always desired.

But what happens when fillers don’t stay put in the lip area? The dreaded lip filler migration. Filler that moves out of place can leave you with a bumpy, lumpy, or uneven appearance around the mouth. When filler creeps above the lip line, it creates an obvious demarcation that looks far from natural.

If you’ve noticed filler spreading beyond your lovely lips, don’t panic. There are effective solutions to correct migrated lip filler and get your pout back to perfection. 

What is a Lip Filler Shelf?

lip filler treatment

You may hear the dreaded “lip filler shelf” phrase when filler migrates above the upper lip line. In a narrative review published on MDPI, lymphatic spread migration to cervical lymph nodes occurred in 59.6% of the patients

This ledge of tissue creates an unnatural augmentation border. It happens when too much filler is injected near the delicate lip borders that the skin can’t contain it. Other names for this unsightly effect include a “duck lip” or “trout pout.”

Is It Swelling or Migration?

It’s normal for some swelling and bruising to occur for a few days after lip injections. But if lumpiness or unevenness has been around for some time, here are a few key differences to tell if it’s filler migration:

  • Swelling peaks at 2-3 days, while migration happens later
  • Swelling tends to be symmetrical, unlike migrated filler
  • Swelling affects the entire lip area, migration just certain spots
  • Icing helps reduce swelling but not migrated filler

What Causes Lip Filler Migration?

Lip filler migration is a side effect that can occur after lip augmentation. Being aware of the potential causes can help avoid migration issues.

OverfillingToo much filler injected at once increases risk of migration. The excessive volume can spread beyond the target area.
Poor Injection TechniqueIncorrect needle placement and injection methods can lead to filler material moving into the wrong facial planes.
Inexperienced InjectorChoose an injector with extensive experience performing lip augmentations. Their skill impacts proper placement.
Excessive Movement AfterKeep facial movements to a minimum for 24 hours after injection to allow filler to settle into position.
Unsuitable FillerThe injector should evaluate your anatomy and skin laxity to select optimal filler.

How Can I Prevent Lip Filler from Moving Around?

While you can’t entirely control what happens beneath your skin, there are steps you can take to avoid lip filler mishaps:

Choose an Experienced Injector

An expert injector with a keen eye for facial aesthetics can strategically place filler in the sweet spot of your lip line to minimize risk of migration. Never compromise on skill to save money.

Follow Aftercare Diligently

Do everything your injector recommends for aftercare, from icing to avoiding certain facial expressions. This gives filler the best chance of staying put.

Get Conservative Amounts

Ask for a conservative amount of filler for your first treatment. Opt for small touch ups rather than overfilling upfront. Taking it slow allows your body to adjust to the filler.

Address Any Changes Quickly

If you feel a bump or lump forming, have your injector check it out ASAP. They can dissolve filler before significant migration occurs.

Accept the Small Risk

Even in the most expert hands, there is always a slight chance of filler movement. Be prepared for the possibility.

How to Fix Lip Filler Above Lip Line

If your lip filler crept above your natural lip line, creating an obvious ridge, here are your options to fix migrated filler and restore beautifully defined lips:

Dissolve With Hyaluronidase

The most effective approach is using hyaluronidase injections to dissolve the migrated filler. This enzyme breaks down hyaluronic acid fillers over the course of a few days to gradually reverse the augmentation. Regular injections are done until the desired reduction is achieved.

Wait for Natural Dissolution

If the filler migration is minor, you can opt to let it dissolve naturally. Hyaluronic acid fillers typically last 6-12 months before being fully absorbed by the body. However, waiting it out means dealing with a less than ideal lip look for several months.

Add Strategic Filler

An expert injector may be able to disguise migrated filler with carefully placed touch-up injections. However, this requires an extremely skilled hand. Overfilling can worsen the issue.

Get Botox

Botox can relax muscles around the mouth to smooth out etched lines above the lips caused by filler migration. While it doesn’t remove the filler itself, Botox can minimize the appearance.

Laser Treatments

Laser, IPL and radiofrequency devices may help break down filler over several sessions. Improvement varies based on the severity of migration and type of filler used.

Consult an Expert

Your best bet is meeting with the professional who performed your lip filler procedure. They can examine your lips and customize the right solution. In many cases, hyaluronidase injections are the first path to dissolving migrated filler.

Best Practices to Prevent Lip Filler Migration

While occasional migration can’t always be avoided, you can minimize risks by:

  1. Verify their expertise in lip filler injections to ensure proper technique. Never compromise on skill level.
  2. Avoid movements like puckering for 24 hours to allow filler to settle before manipulating the area.
  3. Fix subtle imperfections with conservative touch ups vs. allowing significant filler shifting.
  4. Check for lumps, bumps and irregularities starting 1 week after injections. Early treatment prevents worsening.
  5. Keep your injector informed of any concerns so they can promptly address and fix potential filler migration.

Discover Your Perfect Pout with Ethos Spa

lip filler doctors

At Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness, lip augmentation is an art form. Our team of experts includes extensively trained plastic surgeons and injectors who focus exclusively on facial aesthetics. We go beyond simply filling your lips – we create natural enhancements customized to your unique anatomy.

During your consultation, we’ll thoroughly evaluate your facial contours, bone structure, muscle movement and skin laxity to determine the precise placement and filler amounts to achieve seamless results. Our artistic eye and rigorous medical background ensure lip enhancement that looks like a better version of your natural lip shape – never overdone.

Contact Ethos Spa today to begin your journey towards your perfect pout. With our facial rejuvenation experts, you’ll feel confident you’re in the best hands possible. We can’t wait to show you the beautiful possibilities and create luscious, eye-catching lips personalized just for you.


How to Enhance Facial Features with Lip Fillers?

Dermal fillers allow customized, natural-looking enhancement of your lips. Common uses include increasing upper and lower lip fullness, improving symmetry, defining a sharper cupid’s bow, adding subtle volume to aging lips, plumping flattened borders, hydrating dry lips, and smoothing vertical lip lines. 

Does Migrated Lip Filler Go Away Naturally?

The short answer is yes, but very slowly. Hyaluronic acid fillers are gradually metabolized and absorbed by the body over months or even years. However, waiting for complete natural dissolution of migrated filler can take a long time. Residual particles may remain indefinitely. 

For faster removal of unwanted migrated filler, injectors can administer hyaluronidase shots to speed up and optimize the body’s natural absorption process. Though it may not remove 100%, dissolving agents break down filler much quicker than natural metabolism alone.

Can Lip Filler Travel in Facial Tissues?

In rare cases, yes. The exact reasons are unknown, but potential causes include improper injection technique, using too much filler, the filler material properties, and individual tissue differences. Most reported cases of migration are mild. 

But in some instances with severely mismanaged injections, filler could potentially move through fascial compartments into unintended areas. This would require hyaluronidase or surgical intervention to correct. When performed by an experienced provider, the risk is very low.

What to Do If Lip Filler Appears Above the Lip Line?

Don’t worry if you notice filler above your natural lip line. There are a few options to fix it: Gently massage the area to manually reposition it, have your injector use hyaluronidase enzyme to dissolve the migrated amount, surgically remove it if significant, or leave it to be slowly absorbed over several months if very mild.

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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