Women acquire big lips to look pretty

New Delhi: Now you can pout like Angelina Jolie or Priyanka Chopra - for a price, of course! From girls in their 20s to women in 40s, many are opting for lip augmentation to look attractive.

"There has been a 25-30 percent increase in the number of women opting for lip fillers over the past three to four years. Many women come to us asking for a pout like Priyanka Chopra or Angelina Jolie," Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeon Meenakshi Aggarwal told reporters on phone.

Among Indian actresses, Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are known for their naturally pouty lips, while in Hollywood, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley have set a trend with their sexy lips.

It is a blessing for those who have them naturally, but those who don`t have it, need not fret.

In India, according to Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeons Viral Desai, pouty lips are more popular among aspiring models and actresses, many of whom acquire it through various procedures.

"A lot of young women, including those who are eager to make a career in Bollywood or in the fashion world are asking us to give them plumper lips," said Desai.

The process of lip augmentation is not new in the cosmetic industry, but the trend has caught the fancy of youngsters.

In the 1980s, collagen (naturally occurring proteins in the body) injections were introduced in the cosmetic surgery field and rapidly gained popularity among people. Since then similar procedures have also been introduced where fat is taken from the other parts of the body and injected into the lips.

Anup Dhir, Apollo Hospital senior cosmetic surgeon, says silicone and hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers are also used for enhancing lips.

Implants made of materials like Alloderm (made from cadaver skin) and Gore-tex (a cross between cloth and rubber) are also used.

However, the pouts achieved by using these procedures last only about 6 to 12 months and women have to repeat the process to maintain fuller lips.

For a permanent pout, a new procedure has been introduced that involves neck muscle graft being implanted into lips. Patients are put through anesthesia and sternocleidomastoid muscle from the neck is used as a graft and implanted into the lips.

"This procedure doesn`t need to be repeated as compared to filler injections. It is new, but the response is growing by 10 to 15 percent every year. Its long- term effect is making it popular among women," Dhir told reporters.

Lip fillers cost Rs.18,000 onwards and take just 15 minutes, while the cost of a neck muscle implant goes up to Rs.50,000-70,000 and the entire procedure takes around one to two hours.

As far as after-effects are concerned, the swelling on the lips stays for one or two weeks while with lip fillers, women are free to move around within 24 hours.

Despite the new procedure giving long lasting results, lip fillers remain popular among women, says Aggarwal.

"Girls are still going for lip fillers as these are cost-effective and hardly time consuming. They also get an option to change their looks if they wish to," she said.

Aspiring model Tanvi (named changed) said: "Looks play an important role in our profession; so I regularly go to get my lips augmented through fillers. I am eager to test the neck muscle implant procedure to get a permanent pout."



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