Restylane, Juvederm and other filler injections continue to be popular choices for temporary lip augmentation. In terms of permanent lip augmentation surgery, the options are fewer and the treatment risks can be greater—which has given some lip implant and lip lift patients pause in the past. But a breakthrough new permanent lip implant may soon be able to change this!
In a recent issue of The Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, reports on a new potential permanent lip implant type are discussed. What's most unique about this new lip implant is that it utilizes parts of the patient's own neck muscle to augment the lips! Could neck muscle tissue be the key to the safest, most natural-looking permanent lip augmentation yet?
According to The Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, a group of plastic surgeons in Naples, FL, have performed 25 successful permanent lip implants using neck muscle tissue!
For the procedure, 25 patients had their lips augmented with "segments of their own sternocleidomastoid, a muscle running along the side of the neck, and the connective tissue that overlies it (fascia)". Dr. Anurag Agarwal and colleagues, from the Aesthetic Surgery Center in Naples, are the team who created and performed these neck muscle lip implants. Post lip implants, "all patients had a minimum follow-up [after] one year" with the doctors.
In terms of results, the amount of pink lip area showing, in both the upper and lower lip, "increased by an average of 20 percent to 24 percent" after "an average of two years" had passed. A slight increase was noticed in the overall "projection" of patients' lips as well.
The article also stated that the majority of patients were "subjectively pleased with the [neck muscle lip implant] results, although one requested additional lip augmentation with an injectable gel".
In terms of the procedure specifics reported in the article, the neck muscle tissue and fascia can be easily removed during a sequential facelift, or on their own. Additionally, complications should be few, and the muscle and fascia should easily adhere to the existing lip tissue. The Naples surgical team who performed and monitored the neck muscle lip implants found no consequent deformities in "lip contour, limitations in head movement, neck pain or nerve injuries associated with the grafts".
The recovery process post neck muscle lip augmentation should be fairly standard for this type of surgery. Article authors mention that patients will likely experience lip swelling for one month, and possibly longer. "Approximately 75 percent" of the immediate lip fullness should be maintained at one month post-op, and "approximately 50 percent" of immediate post-op lip fullness should be maintained one year after surgery. Part of the explanation for this possible lip downsizing was that the tissue implants tend to slightly decrease in size over time.
As indicated earlier, the most popular method of lip augmentation today is still lip fillers or lip injections like Juvederm and Restylane. Temporary lip injections are more commonly chosen over lip lifts or permanent lip implants, mainly due to the larger inherent risks and difficulties that were associated with lip implants in the past.
Because the lip tissue is so fragile and delicate, earlier lip implants were prone to side effects and complications like extrusion, the formation of cysts, infection, asymmetry and resorption. Today's top choices for permanent lip implants include:
Somewhere in between permanent lip implants and lip injections is AlloDerm, a non-permanent lip implant procedure that uses human cadaver tissue.
If these new neck muscle lip implants prove to be safe and effective following further clinical testing, they will become the first permanent lip augmentation procedure to use the patient's own natural tissue materials!
To learn more about lip augmentation or neck muscle lip implants, or to find out if lip augmentation is an appropriate treatment for you, it's best to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area! They will go over the pros and cons of lip augmentation surgery with you in great detail, to ensure you are well-informed about the various treatment options. Prior to surgery, a cosmetic lip surgeon will also identify lip implant techniques or personal conditions that could help or hinder your lip enhancement success!