Lip injections with hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers are one way to create fuller lips. You also have the choice of lip implants. Unlike dermal fillers, lip augmentation using implants is considered a surgical procedure.
Lip implants are a good option when making wrinkles less noticeable isn’t important and your main concern is to increase lip volume. They are also quite useful for creating definition in the lips. The most common lip implant brands are AlloDerm, Gore-tex, SoftForm, Advanta, and PermaLip. Each one works differently, but they can all give your lips an enhanced, shapely appearance.
ALLODERM DERMAL GRAFT
AlloDerm is a soft and malleable human tissue graft made with donated human skin. The graft material removes cells from the skin to leave only the collagen part. Not being synthetic material greatly reduces the risk of an allergic reaction. Originally, AlloDerm was used for the treatment of burns, but its applications expanded rapidly. Practitioners now use it in cosmetic surgery. Once the graft is inserted in the lips, it becomes something to which the patient’s own cells can affix and grow. This makes the implant more stable and less likely to move.
ePTFE LIP IMPLANTS
ePTFE is short for expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. It’s a non-toxic polymer with a micro-porous composition. Manufacturers have made things like waterproof clothing with it for years. Rest assured, the version used for lip implants is medical grade, and doctors have given the material biomedical applications.
These are permanent implants, but they can be removed. Like AlloDerm grafts, ePTFE implants remain in place because human tissue can develop in and around the porous material. Eventually, the implants become part of the lip. AlloDerm implants tend to get smaller over time as they are broken down by the body. ePTFE implants shrink very little, if at all. There are various brands of ePTFE implants:
SoftForm implants have a tubular shape with a hollow core. This helps encourage tissue in-growth so that they adhere firmly to the lips and don’t shift away from where they’re placed. UltraSoft is another implant from SoftForm’s manufacturer. It’s much softer, with a resemblance to actual human lips.
GORE-TEX LIP IMPLANTS
A surgeon can place Gore-tex implants in the lips as threads or strands. This makes this brand especially useful for enhancing the edges of the lips. Gore-tex implants don’t have a history of significant problems with allergic reactions. They do have a drawback in that they feel a bit stiff. Fortunately, most patients get used to the sensation fairly quickly.
A newer product, the Advanta lip implant has proven to be an interesting alternative to other lip implants. Advanta is designed with two cores, a soft inner core and a smooth outer core. This makes them more comfortable and more flexible. The implants have a natural look and feel, so you can barely tell that they’re there.
PermaLip implants are made from a solid silicone elastomer and have natural-looking contours. They are available in a wide variety of diameters and lengths, so you can customize your treatment.
The surgeon doing the procedure makes an exact measurement of the length of each lip. You then select the implant diameter that best matches the volume you’d like for the final outcome.
As the name implies, PermaLip ™ is permanent. However, the surgeon can take them out if you are unsatisfied. In fact, of the different implant types, doctors say silicone implants are the easiest to remove. That’s because they’re silicone isn’t meant to integrate with the surrounding lip tissue.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR HAVING LIP IMPLANTS DONE?
At your first consultation, the surgeon will evaluate your health status. She or he will examine your lips and your face as a whole and talk to you about your expectations. The surgeon will explain the different techniques and products that can be used to achieve the best possible results. You would expect the doctor to be frank and honest when explaining the various options and any risks. Be open and honest as well. Talk about what you expect to get out of having the surgery done.
The procedure is a fast and simple one, lasting about 30 minutes. The implants are cut to the right size for your lips. The surgeon administers local anesthesia to the lips. She or he then makes four small incisions at the corners of the mouth, two on the top lip and two on the bottom. This is how the surgeon makes a space for the implants. After the space, or tunnel, is created, she carefully introduces the implant or graft material into each lip, adjusting these until she achieves the desired volume. The incisions are then closed with a thin soluble thread.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY LIKE?
Once you’ve rested for a while, you’ll be allowed to leave the doctor’s office. Pain is not uncommon once the anesthesia wears off, but it is usually well controlled with analgesics. Your lips may also be more sensitive to pressure or exposure to light for about 14 days. After the operation, there’s often significant swelling and some bruising that may last for 24 to 72 hours. Apply ice packs a couple of times a day to help with this. Bear in mind, your lips may still show slight swelling up to two months later.
The risk of infection is very low, around 1%. To minimize this risk even further, you doctor can prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.
Make sure to sleep with your head elevated. Also, control chewing and lip movements for the first three days after the operation.
You should be able to return to work and to your everyday activities three to seven days later. Sometime during the second month of the healing process, you’ll be able to see the final outcome. You should notice that the implant has become soft and flexible.
Experienced cosmetic surgeons often advise their patients who want lip augmentation to first have dermal filler injections which are temporary. That way, they can get a more realistic idea of what the outcome will look like without committing to a particular type and size of permanent implant.#LipImplants As An Alternative To #LipInjections Click To Tweet
ADVANTAGES OF LIP IMPLANTS VS. LIP INJECTIONS
The biggest advantage implants have is that the body does not gradually reabsorb them like it does injectable lip fillers. With dermal fillers, a practitioner must inject your lips every few months or every year. For as long as you want to maintain fullness in the lips, you have to keep receiving injections. Lip implants have the advantage of being permanent. At the same time, they’re also easily reversible.
Cost is another factor. You will spend less on injectable fillers in the short run. However, they cost more over the long haul precisely because your need for maintenance injections never ends.
In terms of appearance, lip fillers have an advantage in that they create a voluptuous-looking lip better than lip implants do. The latter create smooth, full lips but don’t work as well to achieve very pouty looks. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers can also improve the appearance around the lips. They can smooth out fine wrinkles and lines so that they’re less noticeable. In this regard, lip implants don’t really help.
LIP IMPLANT AND LIP INJECTION RISKS
Lip implants require surgery. This makes them the most invasive lip augmentation method.
All surgery carries some risk. The lip implant procedure requires anesthesia to which you could have an allergic reaction. There could be dangerous blood loss if bleeding isn’t properly controlled . Nerve damage could occur which could lead to a lack of sensation. Allergic reactions to the actual implants are rare, but there’s always a chance, and there’s also the risk for an infection. When your own tissues grow into lip implants, they help lower the probability of two other risks: migration of the implants or rejection as foreign material. An implant can harden or there can be scarring. You then have to again undergo surgery to have it removed.
Lip injections share only a few of the above risks, namely the possibility of an infection or of an allergic reaction to the filler. However, they’re much less invasive. They aren’t surgical procedures, so the recovery time is shorter. You get to see the final results more quickly, too.