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Lip augmentation with synthetic lip implants is a cosmetic procedure that is performed to add volume and shape to a patient’s lips – and also used in reconstructive purposes as well. Lip implants create a permanent yet reversible enhancement of the lips by defining their appearance more. These implants do not shrink and are never absorbed into the body. They also remain in place because scar tissue forms on the other end.

Indications for lip implants are for sub-dermal soft tissue augmentation. SoftForm and SoftForm-rc are indicated for the lip border, nasolabial folds and the frown lines and UltraSoft is indicated for cheek and temple area.

A good potential patient for lip augmentation with implants should be in good physical and emotional health. That the patient has a realistic expectations about the results, including what to expect during and after the procedure, the benefits and most importantly the risks involved.

Different types of lip or dermal implants available are:




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There are risks and benefits of implants for lip augmentation surgery. Inflammation, infection, fistula, hematoma, and seroma formation, and complications with the implant itself are rare but potential risks. People who are prone to developing cold sores may develop an exacerbation following this type of surgery. If this were to happen then you would be given tablets and ointments to treat the cold sores which should not alter the overall result. There may also be slight asymmetries of the lips, scarring, firmness of the graft, and temporary changes in sensation.

If the implant is not inserted correctly during surgery, the implant may be very palpable afterwards and require additional manipulation in order to achieve the desired results. Complications during this procedure are rare and greatly reduced when performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon.

Lip augmentation with lip implants takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete and average a couple of thousand dollars on up. The surgeon will first make small incisions in the lips. This lip augmentation procedure is performed under local anesthesia, with or without light sedation, on an out patient basis.




The incisions are most often made at the corners of the mouth, but may be made elsewhere on the lips, depending on the specific technique being used. The surgeon will then create a thin tunnel to accommodate the implant. Creating this tunnel properly is vital to ensuring that the lip implant may be placed correctly and provides an even, natural-looking result. The surgeon will insert will then implant and thread it through the lip. The lip implant will be precisely trimmed to the proper length, and the incisions will be closed.

During recovery it is possible for patients to experiences some swelling, discomfort, tightness and bruising for one to three weeks – and this procedure does take some getting use to. Although you may always be able to feel the implant under your skin, softening of the implant is anticipated over time.



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Some of the costs for lip implants may include:

  • Surgeon’s professional fee

  • Facility fee

  • Anesthesia fee

  • Medications

  • Surgical garments

  • Medical tests

Cost for lip implants are approximately $4500. This cost will vary depending on many factors, including the type of doctor that performs the procedure, the type of lip implant used and the geographical area where the surgery is going  to take place.








List of possible risks and complications:



Cold sores are viral outbreaks, usually on the lips.  Although they may occur during a cold, they are not due to the cold virus.  This virus lays dormant when there are no visible cold sores, however; if the body should become stressed (such as during an illness, emotional stress, physical trauma or surgery) - the dormant virus will become active and start triggering cold sores.

If there are active cold sores at the time of your lip procedure it may cause a severe outbreak afterward. The outbreak will not be limited to your lips; it could possibly involve other parts of the face.  If you do have active cold sores, your procedure will be postponed until after they have healed.  Even if you do not have any active cold sores, your surgeon will more than likely suggest antiviral medication as a precaution.



Synthetic implants such as Gore-Tex lip implants, may work their way out through one of the incisions.  To prevent this complication from occurring your surgeon will try to keep the implant away from the healing incision.  If extrusion does occur, your surgeon will probably remove the implant and allow your lips to heal.  Extrusion following placement of injected material is very rare.



Implants that are placed in sheet form may become infected.  Patient should make sure they take all of their antibiotics from the procedure to minimize this risk.  If an infection occurs anyway, then the removal of the infected implant and a course of a stronger antibiotic will be recommended.  If removal is necessary, most surgeons like to wait a minimum of six months to try and place the implants again.  Scarring can occur from having an infection, making replacement surgery harder to perform.  Risk of infection following placement of sheet implants is less than two percent.  Risk of infection following a dermal injection is even less commonplace.



Implants made of collagen, fat or fascia can be absorbed by varying degrees.  Some of these implants will be completely absorbed over time.  Gore-Tex, Advanta, UltraSoft, SoftForm, PermaLip and FulFil will never shrink or become absorbed.




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The differences in the lip implants have to do with:

  • density

  • softness

  • shape



SoftForm is a micro porous tubular designed implant which has a hollow core allowing tissue to grow within the implant, which increases stability and the aesthetic result.


UltraSoft comes from the makers of SoftForm (Tissue Technologies, Inc.) and is similar in design to SoftForm, however, the company reports that UltraSoft is approximately three times softer than its sister implant, allowing for the implant to feel more like your own tissue.


Gore-Tex is a micro porous implant, however is slightly stiffer than Advanta and UltraSoft. Most patients adapt to the feel and are very comfortable with it. Recipients of Gore-Tex will not experience any shrinkage over time.


Advanta is a dual porosity implant which was designed to address issues of softness, reduced migration and shrinkage. This dual porosity structure creates a noticeably soft implant.  Advanta is gaining in popularity among surgeons as the implant exhibits not only great softness, but excellent tissue in-growth compared with lower porosity implants.




Some of the newer implants:

FulFil is a new type of saline-filled lip implant, which has great potential for a softer permanent lip implant. One of the advantages of the FulFil lip implant is that the size can be adjusted at the time of surgery by adding more saline (much like breast implants).


PermaLip is a lip implant that is made of a soft silicone gel, like a "gummy bear" breast implant.







  • Lip implants made of ePTFE have some distinct advantages over Alloderm or Dermaplant. The patient tends to get a more defined appearance versus a plumped up pouty look.

  • Also due to the fact that implants are permanent, there will be no shrinkage like you see when fillers are wearing off.

  • The cost tends to be approximately the same as Dermaplant.



  • A disadvantage with this procedure is that since the implants are a foreign body and may become infected or rejected.

  • This procedure is more invasive and tends to have a longer recovery time than some of the injectable fillers.

  • Because these implants do have the capacity of getting hard, they can make the patient’s lips feel very unnatural.

  • Complications and risks of having surgery.

  • Some of the side effects from lip augmentation with implants include bleeding, lip asymmetry, and migration and extrusion of the implant.

  • If extrusion should occur, the physician will excise a portion of the implant and re-close the opening of the lip.

  • Infection is a common, but treatable risk.

  • Other complications of the removable implants (Gore-Tex, SoftForm, UltraSoft and Advanta) are less common but include migration, extrusion, decreased mobility, and irritation from a poor fitting implant.

  • The hollow implants (UltraSoft) allow your own tissues to grow into them which decreases the risk of infection, rejection, and mobility.

  • Cost is variable but usually runs about one thousand dollars per implant.

  • All implants carry the risk of permanent discoloration, scarring, and deformity.









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