Lip Implants - Can They Be a Permanent Solution?

Due to receding gums, my upper lip area is sinking in and I wish I could have the fullness I once had. Will implants help? My dentist told me that implants can be placed in the upper lip for fullness and as a permanent solution. Is this correct? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 8

Lip Implant Options For Receding Gums

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Yes, implants can be placed in the lips to help make the lips fuller. Committing to lip implants is a big step and should be considered a permanent decision. I would consider taking baby steps first and start off with lip injections, such as Belotero. This will offer fullness in the lips for 9-12 months. At that time If you like how your lips look and if it helps the receding gums then I would have a face to face consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to talk about permanent lip implants. Good luck to you. 

Permanent Lip Implant Options

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For longer lasting enhancement, there are two options: fat transfer or an AlloDerm graft. The fat transfer process uses fat taken from another region of the patient's bodyuses the patient's own fat from another area of the body and it is re-injected evenly into the lips for a natural, complication free enhancement. There are no allergic reactions involved.An AlloDerm graft is like a lattice structure that lets vines grow in your garden. It is a piece of skin that has been stripped of its living cells; all that is left is a soft, collagen structure. The collagen structure is inserted into the lip where it allows the patient's own cells to attach and grow, which provides the enhancement. The graft is placed easily through small, inconspicuous incisions in the corners of the mouth. The result is a very natural look and feel for long term enhancement. Because both AlloDerm and fat transfer use human tissue for enhancement, there is no chance of inflammation or an allergic reaction.

Fat grafting superior to lip implants due to comfort and appearance.

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Your dentist is correct, however, most patients do not like the feel of lip implants.  Fat grafting uses your own fat to permanently plump the lips and looks more natural.

An alternative that is not permanent is using an injectable filler.  The results can last up to a year.  This way you can see if you are happy with the results before you do something permanent.

A Very Thin Upper Lip Will Do Better With A Lip Advancement Than A Lip Implant

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The combination of the terms, receding gums and a lip that is turning in, suggests an aging lip problem...and probably an aging lip problem in a lip that was already fairly thin. Thin lips as one ages are very prone to getting thinner by vermilion contraction. Usually a very thin lip does not do well with injectable fillers but if you have never had them before that is a good initial approach. If it is effective then you can consider a permanent lip implant, like Advanta lip implants. If injectable fillers do not make a good result then neither will an implant as the volume or 'stuffing' approach will not be successful when the native lip volume is too low. In these thin lips, you should consider either a lip advancement (vermilion advancement) or a lip lift. Both are excisional procedures that create permanent increased vermilion show by lip skin removal.

Perma Facial Implants to the Lips is a viable option

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An individual consultation and exam by a specialist would be needed to determine which procedure for lip augmentation would be most suitable for you.  I think in general, it's good to try a temporary injectable filler in the lips prior to permanent implants, in order to see if you like the appearance of fuller lips.  I think that Perma Facial Implants in the lips are a nice option for most patients.  They are made of a permanent, soft silicone implant material that does take a few months to get used to. These implants are surgically removable in the office if you do not like them.  I agree with other physicians who have suggested avoiding injectable silicone in the lips.  I have had to excise injectable silicone lumps and bumps from several patients injected elsewhere, and it is not pleasant. 

Anurag Agarwal, MD
Naples Facial Plastic Surgeon

Lip Implants afford safe,lasting, yet reversible volume.

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With the texture of a "gummy worm",  new soft silicone implants are a safe way to augment volume.

  • the short surgical procedure to "place" them is done with a local anesthetic in the office
  • while "permanent", they may also be easily removed if desired
  • for clients that like the "look" of volume fillers in the lips, implants may over the long term be less "traumatic" to the area, and result in less internal scarring in the lip tissue that does occur with fillers

Debra Irizarry, MD
Crestone Plastic Surgeon

Can it pass the kiss test?

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Alas, fibrofatty tissue seems to melt away in vital areas, such as the lips, face and breast. Even more regrettable, fat seems to accumulate in inconvenient places such as the belly, hips and thighs. Before you decide on a permanent lip implant, I would advise you to try injectables, in order to evaluate whether your injector has the same aesthetic vision as yours. The chief advantage of hyaluronic acid fillers is their temporary nature, so it's unlikely that you'll experience buyer's remorse.

On the other hand, once you have a good working relationship with a Plastic surgeon and are ready to move to a more permanent solution, you might consider either structural fat grafting (injections) or a dermal fat graft because it's replacing what you've lost with a similar material.

I've put Goretex, Alloderm, Tensor fascia and a variety of permanent implants, but these are fraught with complications ranging from exposure to malposition. One of my colleagues in Minnesota commented that the Goretex implants also get very hard and rigid, during winter. So you should be confident that not only will your lips pass the kiss test, but that your speach will not be impaired.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

There are many options for permanent lip fillers

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Fat injections would be a permanent type of implant and filler that could be your option. They are natural, from your own body, take on the characteristics of the tissue that you inject them near, have less chance of reactions, and are not foreign. Depending on what you need exactly, other fillers can also help, including silicone implants that are placed around your mouth.

Silicone injections, however, are something that I would stay away from as they are hard to remove and once they're in, they are permanent. I don't do silicone injections and don't plan on ever doing them. Other dermal fillers can improve your lips appearance but again, as you probably know, they are not permanent and last 6 months to a year.

Consulting a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon would be something that I would recommend. We specialize in the face and are highly qualified to help you with this.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.