Lip Lift After Disappointment with Permalip Lip Implants - Antwerp, Belgium

I have always disliked my thin upper lip from a...

I have always disliked my thin upper lip from a young age. It got to the point where I hated it so much, that 2 years ago I started experimenting with fillers. Still dissatisfied, I moved onto thicker Permalip lip implants last year.

The implants gave me the natural fullness I wanted. What must have been swelling, I was convinced was actually my lip. The swelling-that-I-didn't realise-was-swelling had pushed my lip upwards, acting like a lip lift! I thought I'd hit the jackpot, getting 2 surgeries in one.

But once most of the swelling subsided from my implants (after 2 months), my lips were left looking too much like before - only thicker. I was unhappy because my lips still pointed downwards, and my lip still curled under when I smiled. Just it was more pronounced after the implants. You must remember if you are considering this surgery that lip implants ONLY thicken up what you already have! They do not work miracles on the shape too, that's just the swelling doing it's thing. Lip implants= thickness. Okay?

Don't get me wrong - the procedure had been done well! It was expertly done. But I only realised then, after I had changed the thickness, that it was the SHAPE that was the problem. It's like building a house - if you start out with bad foundations then you are not going to be happy with the final result.

It wasn't the thinness that caused my lip to roll under and hide when I smiled - it was the shape. My upper lip faced downwards and drooped at the cupid's bow. It curled under when I smiled and needed curled OUT - hence my desire for the lip lift, which aims to pull the lip into an outward facing position. I'd learned now that any thickness added would not bring my lip higher or make it upwards facing, it would just add volume what I already had. And when I disliked what I already had, I definitely did not want to exaggerate it by making it bigger.

Anyway, it's day 1 and I am in a McDonalds in Antwerp. I have just been operated on by Dr. Bart van de Ven.
A month ago I reached him on, sent him photos and explained what I wanted. I paid €50 for a quote, and here I am. I DID MY RESEARCH! This guy does 3 lip lifts a day but specialises in rewiring jaws and noses and all the rest of it. The lip lift procedure is nothing for him. He has done so many fantastic things for people trapped inside the wrong body - I encourage anyone to view his stunning before and afters. I was so amazed at his natural yet glowing results that I simply knew he was the surgeon for me.

I went in for my consultation yesterday - where he decided removing 3mm of skin was enough - and operation today. I was surrounded by the loveliest nurses i have ever met. I was feeling dizzy after the op and they let me nap in a bed for an hour until I came round.

I was in pain at first but luckily I am doping myself up on ibuprofen. I don't look like a plastic surgery victim like I did after my lip implants (feel free to look at my pictures and gasp in horror). I just have a bit of tape under my nose.

I keep getting asked if I fell on my face. I say yes, because that's much easier than "actually I flew to Belgium to pay some guy a load of money to take away 3mms of my skin".

I'll keep you posted!
Off home tonight, can't wait to see my family and boyfriend, it's quite lonely being a foreigner.

Day 2

It is day 2 and I am healing slowly. Healing from a lip lift is not as traumatic as healing from Permalip. When I got Permalip implants, my lips swelled up like balloons, and I could only eat through a straw for a few days because I was only able to open my mouth wide enough to make a tiny straw sized gap. It hurt a lot as well. Once the ibuprofen began to wear off in my sleep, I would wake up and have to take more.

Lip lift healing isn't so bad. I have very minor swelling under the nose area which aches a little sometimes, but if I'm watching a show or something I barely notice. I can't yawn, laugh or smile without it stinging, but it is getting easier each day as I heal.

I am both excited and concerned about how I will look when I am properly healed (I am hoping in a week's time). I didn't get my Permalip implants removed before the procedure - and although it looks like my surgeon has lifted the lip nicely over the top of my implant - I am worried this will have an effect on my lovely new look. I am afraid with my lip pulled tighter, this might show the implants more, and I don't want to look unnatural. It's ironic how we do these unnatural cosmetic procedures yet the number one aim is to look natural and like we've not had anything done! So yes that is my one worry.
I think I'll be okay though - as I said there is only a little swelling and everything looks good from what I can see. Fingers crossed.

I have attached an image that shows all the stages of my lip, from the very beginning! I was going to include 'lip with filler', 'lip with swelling from permalip' but I thought I'd keep it simple. I can't believe my top lip was ever that thin, it barely existed! I hope this is interesting for people trying to make up their minds anyway.

Day 9

I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with how this is healing. As the swelling around the wound reduces, my lip is dropping a little... it barely looks like I had anything done. I wanted a subtle change, but I feel like this may turn out to be too subtle.

I had to get filler removed days before my surgery (it was a lot and I looked like a duck) and I'm wondering if this is just down to me not being used to seeing my lips this natural and un-plump?.. I'm just a bit disheartened because I thought a lip lift would stop my biggest problem - my upper lip disappearing into my mouth when I smile - but the lip lift isn't enough. I think in a few weeks I will consider a little amount of filler in my now outwards facing upper lip.

If anybody is considering this surgery, I would say get 5mm skin removed minimum. I feel my surgeon was conservative, I wish I had insisted on more skin being removed. My lip-nose gap has been reduced by 3mm and thankfully my lip at faces upwards now, instead of my cupid's bow drooping down. I'll give it time to heal before I make my final verdict!

Day 11 - Filler

Before the lip lift I had to get all filler removed so Dr. Bart would operate on me. I found myself feeling quite disappointed with the results of the lip lift - but now I feel that was because I wasn't used to seeing my lip so un-plump.

My lips naturally curl inwards, and the lip lift definitely reduced that. But, it was still there. So today I took the plunge and decided to get filler placed in the lowest part of my top lip (where it is shallowest and curls under the most). I am so happy, the filler seems to have 'pushed' my lip out in the right place. I have a top lip when I smile again! Now I can fully appreciate the lip lift. I love it.

Day 40?

I think it's been around 40 days since surgery. The columella is slowly becoming less numb, but the nerves still aren't 100% recovered yet. Not that I really care about that, but it's something to be aware of if you're thinking of doing the surgery.

There's barely any scarring, which I can thank my age for! It was a little crusty and dry-skinny for a while, but the scar is pretty much gone now, as you can see.

I'm still really pleased with the results (enhanced with a bit of filler) and I'm very happy. The gap between my nose and lip went from 18mm to 15mm but it's made a huge difference to my life.


I am extremely happy with how this is healing. My scars are barely even visible, even in pure daylight. My lip has been lifted so wonderfully that it was physically hard for me to try and pull my lip down to show the scar in the first photo!

Also somebody asked about mouth corners being affected by the lip lift - as far as I know lip lifts don't affect the mouth corners at all and mine haven't changed a bit.

I still really like my lips since the lip lift. I would consider topping up with a little filler before I go on holiday in June as I expect my February filler will wear off a little before then, but the shape and height are perfect for me.


3 months post-op and the feeling to the cartilage between my nostrils is returning! It's been very numb but today I softly brushed it with my finger and I got a strange tickling feeling that buzzed through both my nostrils like pins and needles. It's so strange but I'm so happy they haven't severed the nerves forever. I thought "I guess this is the price you pay for a lifted lip", but nope!

My boyfriend is one of THOSE who do eskimo kisses a lot. As my nose was half numb I tended to get carried away and slam his nose with mine like a rhino because i couldn't feel it. Those days will be over in another one or two months I think!

Before pictures

Here's what I looked like before permalip, lip lift and filler.
In my opinion I look quite masculine. My lip-nose gap is huge, my top lip is nearly invisible when I smile... so happy I got these procedures. If I had to choose one that made the most difference, it would be the lip lift. It's balanced my face hugely, I look more feminine, and it's rolled out more of my inner lip so it looks bigger too.
Dr Bart van de Ven

Excellent! Friendly, professional, knew what he was doing. He does this in his sleep (probably) I felt like I was in very safe hands and can already tell the results will be good!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 6 others found this helpful

Comments (103)

Sort by

I had a lip lift done a year ago and some fat injected into my lips because I too have very thin lips. I loved it for the first 4 weeks and then I looked like I never had any thing done, I was so upset. So about 4 months ago I went to a different doc and hads juvaderm injected and he told me about permalip implants. So I saved money and had them done 2 months after with 5 mm on top and bottom I loved them! But a week after the surgery I noticed on the bottom that I could see the corner of the implant poking out of my lip.I went in to the doc and he said it was infected and needed to come out. I begged him to see if we could wait and do antibiotics first. I have been on them for 4 weeks now and not getting any better so tomorrow I have to go in and have them removed. Sorry for the very long story but I was just wondering if you kept the implants or had them removed ? I just want to know how the lips look after.
  • Reply
looks great!
  • Reply
Hi, great result!! You look beautifull. Can I ask you how old are you? You seem so young. *_*
  • Reply
Hello Steph! did your doctor use stitches on you, or just those bands visible in the first pic? sometimes stitches leave marks on their own... and in your scar picture there seem to be no such marks. thanks!
  • Reply
Aww you're so pretty. Can you post some more photos
  • Reply
Also, I love that your sills have remained intact! I noticed that patients from a certain doctor (don't think I can say his name) always have theirs cut out and it looks very ugly and unnatural.
  • Reply
Wow, the scar looks amazing. This is the review that convinced me to get it done. My philtrum is 20mm long (yikes). I am a guy and I know we naturally have slightly longer philtrums than females, but this is definitely out of the normal range. How many mm should I have taken off, in your opinion? I'm thinking 3 or 4mm.
  • Reply
Long time dear....
  • Reply
Can we see ur new photos recently .. Iam sure u look amazing
  • Reply
I like ur Scar design ... Its not like other girls i dont like stright line under nose ... Urs inside the nose witch hide nicley .. Can we see ur update and new photos . Thanks
  • Reply
Aww you're so pretty. Can you post some more photos of your entire face now that you're all healed? :)
  • Reply
Lol thanks wendy, not keen on putting my full pic on here as im not telling many people that ive had this done!! :)) I have a facebook if you want to add me? I can pm you it x
  • Reply
Wendy Lololololololol im half asleep and thought I was on my post there!!! Aw well at least I thought I was pretty for a min!!! Hehehe!!! I amuse myself sometimes with my daftness!!!! :) :) :) x Haha
  • Reply
Wooooow big different and nice different in the same time i cant say anything only one thing really Congratulation sis ... Beautiful gorgeous....
  • Reply
Lovely results! Hi just wondering, I've heard some people say their nostrils "flare out" more now because this procedure. Do you find any difference with your nostrils or nose? Thanks!!
  • Reply
Hi steph ! :* you look pretty as well. What I am going say... I agree with opinion lip lift is good idea to not only refresz flat lip but a good idea if someone want to have a lip enhacemennt with naturall look results. I already added nice photo on facebook and my friends start ask me do I injected my lips because they look diferent lol but what make me laughing is fact that when one year ago one doctor from Brighton did my upper lip very huge with a injection.., it was looking so awfull and huge!!! (He is untalented! ) ..but noone said anything... ok maybe ond person... ;)
  • Reply
Hi Jolka! You honestly look amazing, I can see improvements already :D it's awesome how natural the lip lift looks isn't it?! The fact your friends notice a difference mean it was worth it right? If nobody notices that means there's not much difference and there was no point :D although you say you had a huge filled lip and nobody noticed?!? The same thing happened with me, but I thought nobody was saying anything because it was so bad they didn't want to offend me LOL :( happy healing!!! Xxx
  • Reply
May 19, 2014 I like ur Scar design ... Its not like other girls i dont like stright line under nose ... Urs inside the nose witch hide nicley .. Can we see ur update and new photos . Thanks
  • Reply
Hey! Do you have a better before photo? It's hard to tell what your lips looked like before with the one you posted. Thanks
  • Reply
Hi Steph sorry not sure if anyone has already asked this...when you smile with teeth are a lot more teeth exposed than before? Because I want this doing mainly to improve my resting face...when I smile normally my lips rest normally on my teeth but when I proper laugh/ smile my lips go above my teeth flashing a little gum! Just my major concern is that it will make me more gummy when I laugh! Xxx
  • Reply
I would have to say my tooth show is the same! However as I had a lip implant and an inwards curling lip I feel like the lip lift kind of "rolled out" the lip rather than straight-up pulled it up like it would on a normal lip without implant/inward curling problem?... If that makes sense? Hmmm. I think everybody is different! Maybe consider using filler to plump up the lip after a lip lift, in the bottom part of the lip to cover up the gums but also having a nice lifted lip? I'm not sure but i think that's what I'd do! I think gum contouring is a thing too but I have no idea about that at all! Xxx
  • Reply
Hi Steph! Thanks for your help. I think I'll just get the 3 or 4mm taken away - as I only want a tiny bit of distance taken away I'm more concerned about it being 'rolled out' like you say :) Also, I completely forgot to ask. Each time you have fillers now do you still take antibiotics? Because I was told that each time I had filler after the permalip (or if I wanted permanent make up etc round that area), I'd need to take antibiotics for a week! Which just seems like a massive faff to me and is it really necessary?! xxx
  • Reply
Steph91 I have the same issue with my upper lip curling under. The distance between my lip and nose is 15mm which doesn't bother me until I smile then all you see is the distance. Your scar looks so awesome. I've been considering going to Dr Haworth here in the US and he is well reviewed but some of his patients seem to have a much more noticeable scar. I think because he does the muscle hemming. Idk. Do you have any close ups without makeup?
  • Reply
I think scarring depends on a lot of factors, like the age of the patient or maybe if their skin is in bad condition or something? I don't know, but if all his patients have a noticeable scar then maybe you should consider looking for a surgeon you'll feel really comfortable with doing your surgery. In any lip lift done properly the skin and the muscle underneath is hemmed so I don't think that is the reason for this surgeon's noticeable scars, because mine isn't noticeable. It's a tough one but I'd really recommend shopping around before you dive in, it's a lot of money to pay for something you might not be entirely happy with in the end, and you'll feel a lot less scared in the operating theatre if you trust the surgeon :) I'll take some pictures when I leave work in about an hour!
  • Reply
Your lips look good.
  • Reply