Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Understanding what your patients want when they come in for lip filler is one of the most important preliminary steps. As a filler provider, you’re an artist who understands the ideal lip shape, size, and proportions. Your goal is to combine your knowledge of the most aesthetically pleasing shapes and proportions with your patient’s goals and natural lip structure. Consider these tips to help you improve communication with your lip filler patients and better understand their goals.
1. Encourage Patients to Bring Photos
Show your patients images of different lip types, shapes, and sizes, and encourage them to bring in their own photos to help you better understand what they are looking to get out of fillers. If their goal is to look more like they did when they were younger, ask them to bring in a photo of themselves when they were in their 20s or 30s. Younger patients can bring in magazine clippings or online images of their idea look.
Desires can differ by features (Can we say, “Patient goals for lip enhancement” instead of desires?) like a lip roll, tubercle shape, and the size of the upper lip vs. the lower lip. Have images available in your office that patients can point to to help them explain the part(s) of their lips that they would like to change using fillers.
2. Educate Patients
Sometimes, patients will come in with very unrealistic goals. Educate them to help manage their expectations. There are published papers on the ideal proportions of the lip that you can share with patients. You can also explain that current trends are in favor of a more natural look, rather than a very exaggerated “duck lip” look.
If a patient is insistent on an amount or placement of filler that you are not comfortable with, don’t be afraid to say no. It is your reputation on the line, and their friends and family are undoubtedly going to ask them where they had their fillers done. That said, the majority of patients we see in my Miami practice are open to our professional advice – and a little education can go a long way.
3. Discuss Filler Options
Let your patients know what their various filler options are and which one you would recommend for their specific needs. Different brands tend to work best for certain areas of the mouth and lips. For example, if you are injecting the vermillion border in order to augment the shape of the lips, choose a stiffer product such as Restylane® or Restylane® Silk. To add volume to the body of the lips, choose a softer product like Juvéderm® Ultra or Juvéderm® Vollure.
Explain to your patients what the differences are among each available filler option and why you are suggesting a particular product over another to help them understand.
Effective communication with your patients is crucial, especially prior to a cosmetic treatment like lip filler. Make sure you know exactly what your patient wants before proceeding. Use educational materials like printouts of different lip shapes and studies about the most aesthetically pleasing lip shapes and proportions.
If you have other tips for improving communication with your patients, please share them with me (Dr. Leslie Baumann) via LinkedIn. I would love to hear your ideas!
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