The popularity of lip enhancements has been on the rise.
In 2019, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that over 2.7 million soft tissue fillers, including lip fillers, were performed.
But not everyone wants to see their dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office every four to six months to maintain results.
This is where permalip implants comes in.
Read on to explore what permalip implants are, including whether they’re safe, effective, and right for you.
A permalip implant is a cosmetic procedure that involves inserting a smooth, solid, silicone implant into the lips. This enhances the size and shape of your lips with long-lasting results.
According to Dr. Alexander Z. Rivkin, MD, of Westside Aesthetics, a permalip implant can be removed or resized with relative ease.
The ideal candidate is someone who’s looking for a long-term solution to achieving bigger lips. This may improve self-esteem and quality of life.
A permalip implant is not for everyone, though. A 2014 study found that those with “razor-thin” lips may not have enough tissue to fit even the smallest implant.
Here are the pros and cons that come with getting a permalip implant.
PRO: Saves you time and money
Like the name says, permalip implants are permanent.
This is ideal for those who are tired of seeing their plastic surgeon every few months for a touch-up. In the end, this saves you time and discomfort.
It also saves you money. Popular lip fillers, such as Juvéderm and Restylane, can cost around $800. And these results have to be touched-up every 4 to 6 months in order to be maintained.
CON: Not FDA-approved
While the silicone used in permalip has been approved by the FDA for the chin, jaw, and nose, it has not yet been approved for the lips.
“The concerns that the FDA raised about permalip involve the risk of extrusion, in which case the implant has to be removed and can result in aesthetically undesirable scarring in the lips,” explains Dr. Rivkin.
“Extrusion is a particular risk because the lips are very mobile and the implant is free-floating (i.e. not attached to anything) in the lip.”
While the risk of migration, infection, and extrusion are rare, Dr. Rivkin says that it can happen more often with permalip as opposed to fillers.
CON: Not as natural-looking as lip fillers
Since permalip uses silicone as opposed to filler, the implant will not look or feel as natural to you.
“Solid implants will always feel different from natural tissue, whereas injectables can usually be done in a way that feels totally natural,” explains Dr. Rivkin.
He adds that there are more long-lasting benefits of fillers, as some patients generate collagen when they get lip fillers.
“This results in a much-prolonged augmentation. Even after the filler has dissolved, the lips are noticeably enhanced.”
There are many different sizes of permalip available.
During your consultation, your surgeon will help determine the ideal size for you based on the anatomy of your lips and how much augmentation you want.
A typical permalip procedure costs around $4,000 for both lips.
While you may pay more up front for permalip compared to lip fillers, it’s more cost-effective over time.
Use this checklist to properly prepare for a permalip implant:
- Avoid herbal supplements and pain relievers 2 weeks before the procedure. Research suggests that you should avoid any type of medication or supplements that thin your blood. This will help reduce the risk of infection.
- Avoid smoking 2 to 4 weeks before the procedure. Any type of tobacco or nicotine can make it difficult for the incision site to heal.
- Make sure you have 30 to 60 minutes available. This means making any necessary work or childcare arrangements ahead of time. Also, prepare to take 1 to 3 days off to recover.
- Have someone who can drive you to and from the procedure. This should be someone you trust, as you will be under the influence of sedatives and medications. Have them stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery to watch for any severe or unexpected symptoms.
Permalip implants are an in-office procedure. If you’re only getting one lip done, it should only take about 30 minutes. If you’re getting both lips, it will take around 60 minutes.
Here’s how the procedure is done:
- A local anesthesia will be used to numb the lips to prevent you from feeling pain or discomfort.
- The surgeon will make two tiny incisions in the lip.
- They will place the silicone implant inside the lip with a specially designed tool.
- After it’s inserted, they will enclose the incisions with dissolvable sutures.
Your surgeon will determine when a post-op checkup is required.
While Dr. Rivkin says that some patients usually experience some mild swelling after the procedure for a couple of days, it should not interfere with your daily activities too much.
Here’s a guide to what to expect from recovery for the first few weeks after the permalip implant procedure.
First couple days
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, but don’t drink through a straw.
- Eat soft foods that require minimal chewing for 3-5 days.
- Avoid excessive motion of your mouth, such as excessive talking, laughing, or chewing.
First two weeks
- Avoid sleeping on your side for at least 2 weeks.
- Sleep on your back with your head elevated to prevent swelling.
Complications from a permalip implant are rare, but possible.
Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
The effects of a permalip are long-term, so you shouldn’t require further treatment. But you may want to swap out your implant for a larger or smaller size down the line.
If you’re not satisfied with the size of your lips, you may want to get lip filler on top of the permalip. If you do this, you will have to visit your surgeon every few months to maintain results.
Permalip implants are just one of the many alternatives to lip fillers.
They cost around $4,000 for both lips and can be easily removed or swapped out for a different size.
As with most cosmetic procedures, a permalip implant is not without risks. In addition to this procedure not being FDA-approved, there is the possibility of migration of the implant, causing chronic pain and infection.
If you’re curious about a permalip implant, book a consultation with a board-certified surgeon.