Lip implants provide permanent lip augmentation with more refined results than dermal lip fillers, making them a good option for individuals with thin lips. Three popular types of lip implants are GORE-TEX®, SoftForm, and AlloDerm®. Each one works a little differently to give patients fuller, shapelier lips.
What it is
Lip implants are specially shaped, soft silicone implants which are carefully inserted into the lips to add volume. The implants themselves are tapered at the ends to create a natural shape that both matches and enhances the existing shape of your lips.
Different thicknesses and lengths of lip implants are available. You’ll want to discuss these options with your doctor to choose the look that’s right for your face. Typically, the lower lip requires a larger implant with a higher overall volume, whereas a longer, thinner implant is generally more suitable for the upper lip.
What It Does
Lip implants add volume to one or both of your lips, providing a much longer-lasting solution than fat transfer or temporary fillers like Juvéderm and Restylane.
Loss of volume and elasticity
Signs of aging
Types of Lip Implants
Some of the more popular types of lip implants include GORE-TEX®, SoftForm, and AlloDerm®. GORE-TEX® lip implants are made from a medical-grade version of ePTFE, a non-reactive polymer.
During the procedure
During the procedure, lip implants are inserted at one side of the lip, near the corner of the mouth. The implants will be passed horizontally through the entire length of the lip to the other side of the mouth.
To insert the lip implants, small incisions are made just inside the mouth, under the lip where they won’t be visible. Starting from the first small incision, a small “tunnel” is created horizontally through the lip. A special tool is then used to pull the implant into position through that tunnel, where it is secured in place.
After the lip implant has been inserted, the incisions are stitched-up using tiny dissolving stitches that disappear on their own, and won’t need to be removed.
In most cases, implants are inserted into the top and bottom lips at the same time. But some patients may wish to only insert the implant into one or the other.
After the procedure
Most of the major swelling and bruising usually subsides in the first five to seven days after your lip implant surgery. Within about a month, the lip implants start to look very presentable.
As with many cosmetic procedures though, the final shape may take a few months to “settle in.” To speed up the recovery time, doctors recommend applying cold compresses for the first week after the procedure to keep the swelling to a minimum. You may also want to sleep with your head more elevated than normal to help keep the swelling down.
During the recovery period, your doctor will prescribe an oral pain killer. Expect your lips to look very puffy, swollen, bruised and irregular for the first week. The shape of your lips following the procedure is not their final shape.
Following the procedure you will likely find it difficult to eat or drink until the swelling goes down. You’ll probably want to plan on eating at home or alone until the principal swelling subsides. Eating soft food, or food cut into very small pieces will help.
The typical cost for a Lip Implants averages $2,500 and can range between $1,500 and $5,000.
What Could Go Wrong
As with any surgery, there are risks and complications. You can have allergic reactions to implants as we've described above or an allergic reaction to anesthesia.
You can experience bleeding or an implant that hardens, which may require removal. You also risk infection or perhaps even nerve damage in some cases. It's very important that you discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to surgery and that you make your doctor aware of any existing medical conditions which may cause further complications.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following
Shortness of breath
An unusual heart rate