It may seem a little crazy to compare lip implants and topical lip plumpers, but if you’re considering a surgical procedure, it makes sense to evaluate every option – from most invasive to least invasive. After doing your research, you may find that you’re happy with the results of a new plumping serum, and decide to skip the medical procedure. Or perhaps you make a different decision. At least you’ve weighed the alternatives, right?
What is Lip Augmentation?
Lip augmentation is cosmetic surgery to increase the size of your lips. Augmentation can be achieved by one of two methods: lip implants or injected lip fillers. Both procedures are administered by plastic surgeons. Barring any complications, lip augmentation is an outpatient procedure which generally can be completed in a couple of hours or less. Because it’s considered an elective cosmetic surgery, lip augmentation is not typically covered by insurance.
What Are Lip Implants and What Substance is Used?
The longest-lasting, though most invasive augmentation procedure, lip implant surgery involves inserting either a biological or synthetic material into small incisions made in one or both of your lips. Different sizes of implants are available, depending on the level of enhancement you prefer.
The most common biological substances used in lip implants are either a sheet of collagen, or fat taken from another part of your body (typically your abdomen or thighs). Tissue from the inside flap of your mouth can also be used as an implant. Plastic surgeons generally avoid this procedure (called a “local flap graft”) if possible, as it’s a much more invasive surgery.
Synthetic materials can also be implanted into your lips. These implants come with a greater risk of allergic reaction, however. Be sure to research implant substances (along with any potential risks and side effects) before any procedure, and discuss the options with your plastic surgeon.
How Much Do Lip Implants Cost?
The national average for lip implants, according to realself.com is $2,475. Of course, this price reflects the cost for implants in both lips. Implants in just your upper lip will cost $1,800, on average. The actual price you pay for augmentation surgery will depend upon where you live, as well as the reputation and experience of the plastic surgeon you choose.
How Long Do Lip Implants Last?
The life of your lip implants will depend upon the implant material that you select, and your body’s reaction to it. A definitive answer to this question is hard to provide, given the variable materials available, and the variety of reactions that people have to them. That being said, lip implants are considered a permanent solution to augment the size of your lips. Unless you have a negative reaction, you can therefore expect them to last for years.
What are the Potential Risks or Negative Outcomes of Lip Implants?
Collagen and fat, though unlikely to cause negative reactions, can sometimes be reabsorbed by the body. This means that your lips could slowly return to their original size. In the event that you gain weight, fat cells implanted in your lips can also expand.
Synthetic implants, like those made with silicone, carry additional risks as well. Infection and migration of the silicone filler can cause disfiguring reactions, even years after the augmentation procedure. Synthetic implants can also harden. Another risk associated with implants is nerve damage, or potential loss of feeling, in your lips. Bleeding and scarring can also occur. Saline implants have the potential to deflate over time.
Some surgeons do not recommend, and therefore will not perform, implant surgeries with synthetic materials.
What Are Lip Fillers?
Lip filler injections are less invasive than lip implants, and do not require any incisions in your lip tissue. As with lip implants, both biological and synthetic materials are available as lip fillers. Hyaluronic acid is probably the most common filler, and has replaced collagen as the filler of choice for many cosmetic surgeons. Hyaluronic acid is a substance found in the human body. (Juvederm and Restylane are two of the most common brands of hyaluronic acid lip fillers on the market.) Fat or connective tissue from your own body can also be extracted and used as filler in your lips.
How Much Do Lip Fillers Cost?
According to plastic surgeons on realself.com, most people require just one syringe of Juvederm or Restylane filler injected into each lip, at an average cost of $500-600 per lip. A small percentage of people opt for a fuller lip, and choose a second injection.
Harvesting fat from another part of your body can cost a bit more, but fillers made of your own purified fat are supposed to last longer than hyaluronic acid fillers. This procedure costs $1500-$2500, on average.
How Long Do Lip Fillers Last?
Like implant surgery, it’s difficult to be precise about how long lip fillers last. It depends on the type of filler used, and your particular body chemistry. Typically, hyaluronic acid fillers last between 6 months and a year. Fillers made from your own fat are considered permanent, so they are supposed to last for years. That is, unless your body reabsorbs the fat.
What are the Potential Risks or Negative Outcomes of Lip Fillers?
Lip fillers typically have fewer negative outcomes than lip implants, because they do not involve incisions into your lip tissue. That does not mean that lip filler injections are without risk. Bruising and swelling are common after lip filler injections. Allergic reactions can occur with synthetic fillers, and these fillers can harden and require surgical removal.
Consulting a Plastic Surgeon
Please consult a plastic surgeon for more details about lip augmentation and its risks. A surgeon will not only discuss general risks associated with these procedures, but they will talk to you about your particular health history and how augmentation might affect you personally.
If you want to research lip augmentation, find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area, explore the cost of surgery, or ask a question of a plastic surgeon prior to an augmentation procedure, realself.com is a helpful resource for this information. The site also includes before and after photos and doctor reviews.
An Alternative to Surgery: Topical Lip Plumpers
For those who can’t afford lip augmentation or feel squeamish about surgery and needles, topical lip plumpers are a viable alternative. Lip plumpers are a fraction of the cost of lip augmentation. They also come without the attendant health risks of a medical procedure.
Do Lip Plumpers Really Work?
You may be asking yourself if a lip plumper is a serious alternative to lip fillers. The answer depends entirely on your desired outcome. Let’s compare them side to side. Here’s a list of pros and cons of lip plumpers:
- Lip plumpers do not cause bruising or swelling
- They’re less expensive
- No pain!
- No missed work
- No serious medical complications
- They moisturize your lips
- It can take longer to see results than augmentation
- Results are less dramatic than surgery
After comparing all the options, you may decide that surgical lip enhancement is the right option for you. Even if that’s the case, trying a lip plumping serum first can give you a good idea of how you’ll look with plumper lips.
In just 30 days, you can dramatically enhance your lip volume, softness and hydration with Swell Lip Volume Serum. Not only that, but Swell does not use any stinging, burning or tingling ingredients to plump your lips! That’s right. No pain or discomfort. What’s not to like about that?
Swell Lip Volume Serum not only enhances your lip volume and softness, but it can reduce the appearance of fine lines around your mouth, too. NS Lip Repair Lipids help improve the barrier of the lips and improve their moisture content. The result is smoother, softer lips and diminished lines.
A patented peptide combination, along with BioRetinol and rehydration spheres will help you achieve more plump, youthful lips – without the use of fillers.
Want to see Swell’s results? Watch our video for some before and after shots!