Q: I used to use liner on my lips to make them look bigger. Now I use injectable fillers to make them bigger. But after so many years of injectable fillers, I am now looking for a different procedure that will last longer and may even be permanent.
A: Injectable fillers, of different chemical compositions, are the primary method of lip enhancement (enlargement) today. They are so popular because they are successful at creating an instant effect that most patients find very satisfying.
But because they are not permanent, injectable fillers to the lips must be repeated. Besides having to be injected with needles, there is also the long-term costs of these repeated treatments. As a result, some patients desire for a lip enlargement procedure that can done once and for all.
There are just a few limited options for permanent lip augmentation. The use of fat injections has promise but is very inconsistent in terms of permanent volume retention. Fat injections often have to be repeated to get a volume that is maintained. The use of dermal grafts (allogeneic cadaveric dermis) has been used for over a decade for lip implantation. Because it is a product out of a box, it is easy to use and insert. But it is often prone to complete resorption. Newer types of human dermis may offer a more permanent result but this has yet to be proven.
The only certain permanent method is that of lip implants. One implant product exists which is that of Advanta. These are soft spongy tubes of Gore-tex of various diameters. These are easily threaded into the lips under local anesthesia. There is no question of their permanent retention. But like all implants, they do have the risks and can usually be felt with one’s tongue or fingers. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, I used them quite frequently and have found few complications with them.
Dr. Barry Eppley