Lip Filler Isn’t Permanent—But These Treatments Are

Suffice it to say, the plumped pout aesthetic is certainly having a moment—and one we don’t anticipate ending anytime soon. Lip fillers are such a popular treatment that one study cited that the demand for soft lip fillers has gone up almost 312 percent since the year 2000.1
So it comes as no surprise that more permanent options have been getting increased attention in recent years. This poses the obvious question: Is there such a thing as permanent lip filler, or are lip implants the only truly permanent option available? The answer is involved, to say the least. That’s why we spoke to plastic surgeon Dara Liotta, MD; nurse practitioner Roberta Moradfar, MSN; and dermatologist Rachel Maiman, MD, who outlined a few of the permanent and longer-lasting lip augmentation options, offered details on each treatment, and provided guidelines for determining if you’re a good candidate.

What Are Some Longer-Lasting or Permanent Lip Filler Options?

Woman receiving beauty injection in lips Closeup of crop anonymous female patient getting filler injection in lips in cosmetology clinic lip fillers stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images
Want a plumper pout that won’t quit? According to our three experts, the below options are some of the most common.
Longer-Lasting Filler
While the popular hyaluronic acid-based fillers like Juvederm and Restylane can last anywhere from six to 12 months, certain fillers can last even longer. “Vollure, which is a Juvederm product, has been shown to last up to 18 months due to its ‘vycross’ technology, which consists of both low and high molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, resulting in a highly cross-linked formula that makes it more difficult for the body to break down,” says Moradfar. “Using Vollure in the lips is considered an ‘off-label’ treatment—meaning, the treatment is being used differently than what it’s marketed for and outside the indications of FDA approval. However, these practices are not only common but generally safe as long as the practitioner uses their discretion and finds that this filler choice is better suited to meet the needs of their patient.”
Additionally, Restylane KYSSE, Juvederm Ultra XC, and Juvederm Volbella have been shown to last up to a year, Maiman says. “Before hyaluronic acid fillers became popular, the ‘go-to’ fillers for permanent lip enhancements used to be collagen-based, like Artefill. However, while some providers still perform these injections, they have largely fallen out of favor,” she says. “This is due to a higher risk of adverse events that are statistically more likely to be long-lasting, like lumps or nodules, inflammatory reactions, scarring, prolonged redness, and a higher risk of allergic reactions.”

Fat Transfer

Beauty treatment with Botox The doctor cosmetologist makes the Rejuvenating facial injections procedure for tightening and smoothing wrinkles on the face skin of a beautiful, young woman in a beauty salon. The hands of cosmetologist are close-ups that inject hyaluronic acid into the lips of the woman. lip fillers stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images
A fat transfer treatment requires taking small droplets of fat from another part of the body (usually the abdomen or thighs) and transferring said fat into the lips using a cannula needle, not unlike the method of injecting a filler. “Not all transferred fat will take up a new blood supply and live in the new environment, so augmentation with fat transfer is a little of an educated guessing game, and getting a long-lasting, even result can require multiple sessions over the course of months,” says Liotta.

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Lip Implants

“Lip implants are a permanent solution that tends to increase in popularity every year. They involve the use of soft plastic implants, such as silicone and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene,” Maiman says. “This approach is really only recommended for those who have symmetrical lips at baseline and sufficient lip tissue to stretch over the implant and conceal it for natural-looking results.”

Additionally, lip lift surgery is also an option, but according to Liotta, it isn’t a true lip augmentation surgery. “A lip lift surgery involves removing the skin above the lip and physically rolling the red lip area upwards to increase its height and decrease the distance between the nose and lip,” she says. “It does increase the visible volume of the upper lip, but this is not truly lip augmentation.”

Benefits

The big benefit of permanent lip augmentation or longer-lasting filler? Less-frequent touch-ups, of course. “For a longer-lasting lip filler, the benefit is that you’ll experience a more gradual decline in the desired shape and volume of your lips, allowing you to schedule repeat treatments further apart,” Moradfar says. With a more permanent option like a fat transfer or lip implant, the need for touch-ups is completely eliminated.

“With respect to fat transfer, there are a few additional benefits, one being the procedure involves the use of one’s own fat, so the risk of unwanted inflammatory reactions is significantly reduced compared to the injection or placement of a foreign substance,” Maiman says. “Secondly, strategic selection of the location the fat is suctioned from can provide an additional aesthetic benefit in that donor area—for instance, transferring fat from a person’s jowls to their lips.”

How to Prepare

Whether you’re getting ready for longer-lasting filler or surgery like lip implants or fat transfer, Maiman states that the pre-treatment work is more or less the same, and centers around reducing the risk of bruising or swelling. “Refrain from aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, fish oil, multivitamins, and vitamin E for about a week before your appointment, as each can act as a blood thinner,” she says. “In a similar vein, it is generally recommended to avoid ingesting alcohol 24 hours before the procedure because of its blood-thinning properties, though some offices suggest stopping for a whole week before.”
Being that lip implants are a true surgical procedure, a few additional precautions are required. “Avoid tobacco smoke for two to four weeks before the procedure, as this can impair healing of the incision site, and make sure someone is available to drive you home because sedatives will be required,” Maiman adds.

What to Expect

Longer-Lasting Filler: With a longer-lasting lip filler, your doctor will follow the same method they use to inject other hyaluronic acid-based fillers. “You’ll likely be numbed with a topical anesthetic cream, then your lips will be cleaned and injected with a needle or cannula in areas that need volume,” Maiman says. “The material will then be massaged gently to prevent the formation of lumps, and the entire process takes about 30 minutes or less.”
Fat Transfer: A fat transfer involves taking a small amount of fat from another part of the body—whether via liposuction or pulling from a small volume reserved for the lips—and according to Maiman, this process could take anywhere from an hour to five hours in total. “In all cases, small, strategically placed incisions are made, through which a suction cannula is inserted to remove the appropriate volume of fat via a vacuum,” she says. “The extracted fat is then rigorously purified to remove excess fluid, oils, and cellular debris, and is then transferred into the lips.”
Lip Implants: With a lip implant, your surgeon will begin by applying antiseptic to clean the area, then will follow with a topical numbing anesthetic. “The surgeon will make two tiny incisions in the lip, place the silicone implant inside the lip with a specially designed tool, and once it’s inserted, they’ll close the incision with dissolvable sutures,” Maiman says. “If only one lip is implanted, the procedure should only take about 30 minutes, but if both lips are implanted, it takes around 1 hour.”

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