Lip Enhancement: Why I Hate Solid Implants in Lips

Beautiful lip enhancement can make a woman look more alluring and feminine.  However, we all know that lips can be the most overdone element of a face, drawing unwanted attention to how unnatural they appear.  I perform more lip corrections and reductions than almost any surgeon in the United States so I have a pretty clear grasp of how bad lip enhancement procedures can be out there.  In a separate blog article I will address the fundamental attributes of how lips should be shaped to create the most natural results.  In this short article, I would like to enumerate why I am strongly opposed to solid lip implants of almost any kind.

With each year I see another solid lip implant on the market, coated in one material, inflatable, adjustable etc.  Curiously, I remember the admonition of my mentor during my fellowship year, “If you want to have a difficult career, advertise yourself as a lip doctor.”  Surprisingly, I have become a lip specialist but not because of solid lip implants.  What I saw during my training in facial plastic surgery was enough to foreswear solid lip implants for a lifetime:  extrusion, infection, shrinkage, malposition, scarring, firmness, unnaturalness, etc.

Those reasons are in short why I do not perform solid lip implants.  Think of it this way if you put a solid implant like a chin implant (which I love to do in the right patient) in a fixed area like the chin along bone it should not move or become problematic over time.  That is due to the fact that the solid, immobile chin can handle a solid, immobile implant.  The lips that are soft and highly mobile cannot handle a solid piece of material placed into it no matter what technological breakthrough of material has been created.  It is prone to infection, mobility, extrusion, etc.

This lady had both solid implants and permanent fillers (fat grafting) that led to a very unnatural result. She underwent a surgical lip correction to manage the unnaturalness of her lips.

In the article on lip shape and design, you will see that a natural lip enhancement is not shaped like a single tube but must be lovingly and aesthetically recreated to be a shape that looks natural.  In brief, the upper lip has three natural curves and the bottom lip has 2 mounds that taper to the sides.  Solid lip implants simply do not have the versatility to recreate these subtle contour changes that are necessary when the ultimate goal is a soft and natural lip.

When a physician hands you a soft, pillowy implant and says this is how it will feel in your lips, I believe this can be misleading.  Over time many of these materials shrink and compress due to the mechanical stresses that occur with lip movements.  I think lip implants theoretically could work if you simply never moved your lips but obviously that is simply not going to happen.  For permanent results I prefer silicone micro injections but there are a ton of limitations that I impose on who I do this for and how, which will be explored in another article.  For the sheer number of lip reductions and corrections that I do on poorly executed silicone injections I have come to realize that this requires a lot of hesitation on my part to advocate it, but I do because when it is done well they can be the most natural results that I have created and have ever seen.

I hope that this article is helpful for those who are considering having their lips enhanced and what problems can be encountered with the wrong choice in lip augmentation.

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