There are three basic things we can do to change how someone looks: reposition, add, or remove. If you want fuller lips we can add volume with a filler such as Versa ®, Juvederm ®, or Restylane ®. There are synthetic fillers that are manufactured out of natural products. Versa ®, Juvederm ®, Restylane ®, Voluma ®, and other hyaluronic fillers are made in a laboratory but are made of a material that is naturally found in the skin. As a result, your body tolerates them well and they last for a long time. In the upper lip and under the eyes (an area we call tear trough) fillers can last up to two years or longer.

One of the earliest hyaluronic fillers was Hylaform ® (or Hylan B) which was hyaluronic acid that came from birds. Specifically, it was taken out of rooster combs (which made that particular filler are xenograft, of course). Permanent synthetic fillers include things like silicone, goretex, and metal.

Silicone comes in three basic forms for use in plastic surgery. The first is as a liquid. Micro silicone droplets have been used as an injectable filler for many years. These are used just as we would use Versa today and were injected into the cheeks, lips, or other areas. The problem with injectable silicone is that it can cause an inflammatory reaction even many years later. We’ve seen people who have a terrible deforming reaction to silicone injections even 30 years after it was placed. In fact, we recently published a medical article describing a person who had fillers put in their tear troughs and eyelids by a person in another country. The filler was done 10 years ago and recently swelled up. It was silicone. We had to remove it surgically. Removing liquid silicone injections must be done surgically and is not easy. It is also not necessarily the case that we can get it all out.

There are other types of liquid silicone that are safe. Liquid or gel silicone that is enclosed in a wrapper or bag is safe to use. It’s only when it is injected that there is a problem. The safer type is found in silicone or “gummy bear” type breast implants. There were some thoughts at one point that these implants could cause problems if they leaked, but that has been largely disproven. Most people opt for gummy bear implants now as they are safe and natural in how they move and feel.

Solid silicone can come in various degrees of firmness. Soft solid silicone can be used as a permanent filler in the lips. Permalip Softform implants are an example of this. These are slid into the lips (upper, lower, or both) and provide a soft, natural, permanent fullness. Silicone implants like these are easy to put in, and can be removed at any time if desired. Firmer solid silicone implants can be used as cheek or chin augmentation. I like these types as they are well tolerated, easy to put in, and easy to take out. They come in many sizes and can be customized for each individual to fit perfectly. Many people are asymmetrical so we can carve the implants to improve symmetry while providing just the right size and location of fullness for the cheeks.

There are many other implants we use. Polytetrafluoroethylene is a plastic-like material that can be altered to make Gore-Tex, which is soft or Teflon. And, of course, very small metal implants can be used to secure the bone in place as it heals. These are made of titanium so they don’t “go off” at the airport, in an MRI machine, or with a metal detector. There are many implants we can use to get just the right augmentation and improvement. Using the right tool for the job gets things right in the long run.

One type of lip filler that I use often in combination with a lip lift procedure is your own tissue from the area we removed. That tissue is called homologous grafts and they refer to a group of tissues like fat grafting where we take the grafts from one part of your body to move to another. Homologous graft can be dermis, fascia, cartilage, and hair. One very interesting fact is that homologous grafts retain the properties of where they came from regardless of where you put them. And that is precisely why lip lift with augmentation works so well since we implant your own tissue from under your nose into your upper lip.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel
Dr. Jeffrey SpiegelWith special expertise in all aspects of facial plastic surgery, and a particular skill for revision surgery, it’s clear why Dr. Spiegel is one of the most celebrated facial plastic surgeons in the world. If you are seeking the best possible results, or have a uniquely challenging problem, you’ve found the right doctor. Learn more....

Dr. Onir L. Spiegel
Dr. Onir L. SpiegelDr. Onir (pronounced “oh-near”) has years of experience in facial aesthetics and treats some of the most recognizable and famous faces. Dr. Onir started her career in oral health, earning doctorate degrees from both New York University and Boston University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her cutting-edge medical research as well as her technical skills in dentistry. Learn more....