Lip Implants

Lip Augmentation will increase the fullness of your upper lip, lower lip, or both. It will not improve problems with lipstick bleed along your wrinkles. If this is your main concern, consider Permanent Make-up or a Wrinkle Treatment. If your lips are full enough but too long or low, then you should consider a Lip Lift, which raises droopy lips.

The Procedure

Lip augmentation is an office procedure performed under local anesthesia. Augmentation materials are available in liquid form for injection or sheet form for surgical placement. If sheets of material are used, which are explained below, small incisions will be made at the corners of your mouth. The sheets of material will then be threaded through your lips to provide smooth, even augmentation. The incisions are usually hidden inside your mouth.

Recovery

You may return to your regular routine immediately following lip augmentation, unless you were sedated. If you were sedated, then you may resume your usual activities the following day. Swelling and bruising last for three days to one week. Discomfort is minimal, and prescription pain medication is often not required.

Options for Lip Augmentation

Available implants for lip augmentation can be classified as liquid form or sheet form. Liquid collagen injections were once the mainstay of lip augmentation, but they lost favor due to short-lived effects (they lasted no more than 6 weeks). Collagen is explained further in the wrinkle section. Some implants for lip augmentation are in sheet form. The three options for this are Alloderm, Dermaplant, fascia, or Gore-Tex.

Newer injectable options include Restylane, which has the consistency of gel and lasts 6-9 months; or Radiance, which has the consistency of toothpaste and lasts 3-5 years.

Finally, your own fat can be used for lip augmentation. This has the benefit of being easily accepted by your body and of giving a permanent natural result. (See below).

Alloderm and Dermaplant

Alloderm and Dermaplant are freeze-dried collagen that is prepared in sheet form. The implant is obtained from deceased human donors. Its placement results in soft, natural, and pliable lips. Drawbacks are that it will shrink over the course of a year. At the end of a year (and sometimes sooner) you will look as you did prior to your lip augmentation surgery. The cost is $1500 – $3000 to augment both lips. Due to its ease of placement and consistent results, sheet collagen is the lip implant material of choice for many plastic surgeons. Its temporary effect, however, has left plastic surgeons to continue to search for a longer lasting alternative.

Fascia

Fascia is dense white connective tissue that envelops your muscles. In many areas of the body, such area is the scalp above either ear, fascia can be harvested for cosmetic use. Disadvantages of fascia are that it necessitates surgery for harvest, hence another area of discomfort and potential complications. Also, fascia will shrink and become absorbed by your body within six to 12 months. The cost of this procedure is similar to that of Alloderm placement.

Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex is a cross between cloth and rubber and is used to make high-quality raincoats and other breathable, water-resistant outdoor gear. Gore-Tex may be slightly stiff, but most recipients become accustomed to this. One advantage over Alloderm and Dermaplant is that Gore-Tex will never shrink and will always maintain its size. The cost is about $1500 to $3000 to augment both lips. One disadvantage is that it may potentially push its way out of your lips.

Fat Injection

Fat can be harvested from your body and injected into your lips for augmentation. When performed using careful technique by a skilled surgeon, the results can be smooth and lasting. There will be some initial shrinkage during the first 3 months. Thereafter, your result will be permanent. Drawbacks of this technique are that few surgeons are skilled in it; swelling and bruising may last 2-3 weeks; and there is a limit to how large the lips can be made. However, because the results are lasting, this is becoming the most reliable option for lip augmentation.

Ask Your Plastic Surgeon About These Potential Complications

Cold sore outbreak

Extrusion

Infection

Re-absorption

Concluding Thoughts on Lip Augmentation

Lip augmentation has become popular due to the impressive cosmetic results possible through this relatively simple procedure. However, because the ideal implant material has not yet been identified, plastic surgeons continue to research this area. Fat injection, in the hands of an experienced surgeon, shows the best and longest lasting results.