For thicker, fuller lips, the two most common cosmetic procedures available are lip implants and dermal fillers (lip injections). Lip fillers do not require any downtime, however the results they provider are temporary. Lip implants are ideal for individuals with thin but symmetrical lips who seek permanent lip augmentation. Lip implant surgery is relatively uncomplicated, the procedure is more invasive than lip fillers and downtime (or recovery time) is required.
In this post, we will discuss the basics of lip implant surgery recovery, including a basic recovery timeline as well as tips to ensure a quick and easy recovery.
Please note that the experience of recovering from lip implant surgery can differ from patient to patient due to variations in the surgical technique, the type and size of implant used, and the patient’s unique recovery response and their pain tolerance.
About Lip Implants
Lip implants provide permanent lip augmentation, versus lip fillers or lip injections which provide temporary results of 6 months to 1 year. Lip implant surgery is a relatively simple 30-60-minute procedure which can take place in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia.
During surgery, your doctor will make small incisions in your lips, most likely at the corners of your mouth. She or he will then create a thin tunnel through which to insert the lip implant at one end. The lip implant is gently pulled through to the other side, where it is trimmed to the correct length before the incisions are closed.
Lip Implant Recovery Timeline
On the day of your procedure, wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing makeup or jewelry. Your doctor may advise you to refrain from taking certain medications in the days before your surgery, especially blood thinners. If your pain tolerance is low, you might want to schedule a friend to drive you home afterward.
After your procedure, your doctor will send you home with an ice pack and recommendations for over-the-counter pain medication. It’s normal to experience mild pain and some bruising or swelling around your lips. The first night, keep your head elevated above your heart, ice frequently, and avoid significant movement in the mouth and lip area.
1-3 Days Post Surgery
Swelling and bruising will be the worst in the first few days after surgery, but this should quickly subside. If it doesn’t, or if you experience excessive bleeding or swelling outside of the lip area, call your doctor as soon as possible.
Unless you had a general sedative, you should be able to return to normal activities within 1-2 days.
7-14 Days Post Surgery
In the 1-2 weeks after your procedure your lip implants will still be settling into place. During this time, continue to refrain from excessive movement in the mouth and lips, such as opening your mouth too wide, puckering your lips, compressing your lips or pouting. As scar tissue forms inside of your lips, the implants will become more securely held in place.
If you had stitches outside your mouth, you’ll return to your doctor approximately 10 days after surgery to have these removed. Dissolvable stitches inside your mouth will disappear around this same time.
14-30 Days Post Surgery
Approximately three weeks after surgery, swelling should be completely reduced and your final results will be revealed. Until this time, you may experience some numbness or tingling in your lips. Your lips implants will continue to soften over time, but they may feel stiff for up to 90 days after your procedure.
Before and After Lip Implants
Post-Surgery Recovery Tips
For best results, it’s important to follow all post-surgery instructions your doctor gives you. Common recovery tips include the following:
- Reduce swelling by icing the area for 10-20 minutes, 4-6 times per day
- Take only the pain medications recommended by your doctor
- Keep your head elevated above the height of your heart
- Get plenty of rest and sleep to help your body heal
- Stay hydrated by drinking 8-12 glass of water each day
- Itching is common while healing. Refrain from scratching your lips
- Avoid strenuous activity until cleared by your doctor
Lip Implant Risks
Lip implants are a relatively simple procedure compared with other cosmetic surgeries, and the risk of complications is low. Before your procedure, review your risk of the following with your doctor:
- Allergic Reaction (to anesthesia or the implant)
- Implant Rejection
- Implant Migration
- Lip Stiffness
Skip Downtime with Lip Injections
Lip injections offer similar results without the recovery time required for lip implants. Lip fillers inject a gel-like substance into the lips to provide fullness. Dermal fillers such as Restylane or Juvéderm are commonly used for lip augmentation.
Results are temporary and last for 6-12 months before the filler is absorbed by the body. You’ll see results immediately, however, and you’ll avoid the 7-30-day recovery time associated with lip implants.
Lip injections are a good option if you’ve never had lip augmentation before and you’d like to test run the results. Lip implants, on the other hand, are ideal for those seeking permanent results and zero office visits for touch ups.