Lip Implants are a type of cosmetic surgery to enable long term and even permanent lip augmentation. Lip surgery is an alternative to temporary injectables such as collagen injections and fat transfer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Types of Lip Implants
There are three types of implants which can be used for lip surgery. The implants can either come from your own skin, somebody else’s skin (a donor) or synthetic materials. There are benefits and disadvantages to each method.
Using your own skin is called the autologous lip implant (autograft). The implant is taken from the deeper layers of your skin (commonly from the groin area) but it can also be taken from your muscles. The benefit with this method of lip surgery is that since it’s coming from you, the body won’t reject the graft. However, swelling is prolonged with this technique and it also leaves a scar at the incision site from where the skin/muscle was taken. The effect is not permanent since the skin thins out over time (however the results should last longer than temporary injectables).
As for the donated human skin implant (allograft), there is a risk that your body may reject someone else’s graft. Patients choose this approach if they prefer not to have a scar on another part of their body. The donated skin is tested for viruses prior to being approved for lip surgery. The result can be lumpy at first but this usually resolves. Once again, the results are only temporary since the material is human, which means it will eventually be absorbed by the body.
Synthetic lip implants can be made from a number of materials including Gore-Tex and ePTFE (for example SoftForm Implants). This technique offers permanent results, since the body does not absorb synthetic material. The downfall is an increased risk of the material being rejected by the body. Although permanent, the synthetic implants may be removed at any time if you change your mind.
Lip Implants Surgery
The surgery will be the same regardless of the type of implant being inserted. An incision is made at each corner of the mouth for each upper and lower lip, resulting in four tiny slits. The surgeon moves the lip implant through a tunnel made in the lip. Once inserted, the surgeon trims the end of the lip implants and closes the wounds.
The surgery takes about half an hour to an hour. The operation is performed under local anaesthetic without hospital stay. You shouldn’t feel pain during surgery. You may experience soreness after the operation which can be treated with medication prescribed by your surgeon. The lips will be tender to touch.
Lip Implants Risks
As with any other surgery, there are risks and complications which can arise as a result of lip implants. These include:
- Rejection – the body may reject the implant. The risk is increased with synthetic lip surgery.
- Displacement – lip implants may move and even protrude from the skin. This usually happens if the lip implants are not placed correctly. This will require revision surgery.
- Scarring – the lip scars are very tiny and hardly visible. However, problems can occur because the lips are constantly moving and due to lip skin being inherently sensitive.
- Infection – this can be treated with antibiotics. Revision lip surgery may be required if the implant becomes infected.
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