Everyone wants full, luscious lips but not everyone is born with them. This is why the number of people undergoing lip augmentation has steadily increased over the years. In 2018, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimated that over 30,000 people had lip augmentation done. Injecting a lip filler is the common augmentation procedure for thin lips, but this cosmetic procedure is not permanent.
So, is it possible to get permanent lip augmentation? Currently, lips implants are the only permanent lip augmentation option available. This form of lip augmentation requires plastic surgery with a variety of lip implant materials to choose from. Permanent lip implants will save you time and money, while keeping your lips plump and shapely.
If you have ever tried a dermal lip filler and was satisfied with the results, you might not enjoy visiting your plastic surgeon’s clinic for a maintenance procedure every six to eight months. You also might prefer a lip augmentation procedure that costs you less, as a syringe of lip filler costs $600 - $800.
So, you might be interested in a more permanent way of maintaining your full lips. This is where lip implants come in. Compared to dermal lip fillers, implant insertion surgery costs around $2000 - $4000 but will save you more in the long run.
Getting lip implants is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that typically lasts 30 minutes. The step-by-step of this procedure would be:
For lip augmentation through implant insertion surgery, there are three implant types available: Synthetic lip implants, tissue grafts, and fat grafts. Synthetic or plastic lip implants can either be made of silicone or expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. Tissue and fat grafting are alternatives to synthetic implants, as fat or tissue from your body will be transferred to your lips.
Permanent implants made of soft, solid silicone such as PermaLip offer results that are soft, natural, and full without requiring additional upkeep. These implants are safe and sturdy, because they don’t rupture, harden, degenerate, or integrate themselves into the surrounding lip tissues. Some brands of silicone implants can also be easily extracted from your lips if you’re not satisfied with the results.
Implants made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene are soft, flexible, and compressible so they feel more natural and less noticeable than silicone implants. They also respond better with the lip tissues. However, implants made of this substance are non-resorbable and completely permanent.
In simple terms, tissue grafting involves creating an implant from a bit of excess skin - usually from the lower abdomen - to fill the lips. Sometimes, a scar or skin from a facelift can be repurposed for lip augmentation. There are no allergies with tissue grafting, since the material comes from your own body.
The epidermis is removed from the tissue, and the remaining dermis is rolled into a cigar-like shape before being inserted into your lips. This procedure takes longer at 60 - 90 minutes, but the shape and volume of your lips can last over five years.
Similar to tissue grafting, fat grafting uses fat from your body to fill your lips. The procedure also takes longer than surgery with synthetic implants, because the fat still needs to be collected from the body through liposuction.
The fat is taken from the abdomen, hips, or thighs, so no allergy issues will arise. This fat is processed and purified inside a centrifuge before it is injected into your lips.
In order to find out if you are an ideal lip implant candidate, it’s best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon so they can evaluate your medical history and skin health. This is important because you may have allergies or are taking medication that will negatively affect the outcome of your lip augmentation procedure.
Some basic criteria to determine if you can undergo this form of augmentation is if you have symmetrical lips and enough lip tissue to stretch over the implant. Patients with the following medical conditions would not be recommended lip implants:
These medical conditions make it difficult for your body to heal. Lip augmentation surgery will cause excessive bleeding but yield poor results if you have these conditions.
While lip implants are an effective, long-term answer to thinning lips, it is also good to compare it to its augmentation alternative: a dermal lip filler.
For patients who are determined to save money and time, lip implants are your best option. However, for patients who are exploring or would prefer a non-surgical procedure, dermal fillers would be a more comfortable choice.
|Lip Implants||Lip Fillers|
|Pros||Permanent resultsSaves more money over timeFew side effects||Non-surgical procedure with fewer risksMore affordable upfrontEasy removal|
|Cons||Longer recovery timeMore risks associated with surgeryInconvenient removal||Requires regular maintenance and additional treatmentsCosts more in the long-runMay have long-term side effects|
Since lip implants are permanent and don’t need follow-up treatments, you will only need to splurge money for lip augmentation upfront. The procedure will have more risks, since it’s a surgical operation. However, it is considered to be relatively safe with few side effects. It will also require a longer recovery period. Removal is possible, but will entail additional surgery.
Overall, lip fillers are a more convenient choice, since it’s non-surgical and won’t require downtime. Most lip fillers are made with a substance called hyaluronic acid, which is naturally available in the body. Hyaluronic acid lip fillers attract water to keep the lips plump.
However, this type of lip fillers will also cost more since you will continually need maintenance injections. The filler will break up on its own after around 6-9 months, which makes removal easier. It can also be dissolved by another substance, if needed.Side effects may persist in the long term if the filler is injected into a blood vessel, but cases like this are rare.
While getting lip implants would be a more convenient and permanent solution to have fuller lips, most plastic surgeons would recommend against having irreversible lip implants done. As we age, our faces change so finding a permanent solution for our lips is not ideal.
At Ethos Spa, Skin and Laser Center in New Jersey, we advise our patients to use an injectable dermal filler for lip augmentation instead. Lip fillers are a more customizable option compared to lip implants, and we guarantee amazing results that will suit your face perfectly.
Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons can also teach you how to maintain your fillers so that they last longer. Book your free consultation with us today to learn more about lip fillers.
Learn more: Do Lip Fillers Change Your Smile?