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The Application of Bilateral Lip Mucosa Flaps in Repairing Upper Vermilion Defects

Zhao, Tian-Lan MD; Wu, Li-jun MD; Yu, Dao-jiang MD; Chen, Qi MD; Han, Wen-Ya MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e318226b4fc
Head and Neck Surgery

Background The lip is a primary aesthetic feature of the human face. Repair of vermilion defects represents a unique challenge to the reconstructive surgeon. The methods of repair are various and have both advantages and disadvantages. Bilateral lip mucosa flaps were applied to the repair of upper vermilion defects, and the effects were observed and reported in this article.

Methods The bilateral lip mucosa flaps were designed. Two reverse triangular flaps were designed on both sides of the upper vermilion defect. These 2 flaps have the common pedicle in the vermilion depression site. Alternatively, a “λ” incision may be used in the wet vermilion. Then, the mucosa flaps were raised, and the dissection was performed between the orbicularis oris muscles and oral mucosa glands. Next, the bilateral mucosa flaps were rotated down 90° and inserted into the “λ” incision to increase the tissue volume of the middle upper lip and deepen the labiogingival sulcus. The common pedicle of the mucosa flaps was formed to the vermilion tubercle, and the incisions were sutured layer by layer.

Results From 2005 to 2010, the bilateral mucosa flaps procedures were performed on 30 secondary cleft lip patients (bilateral, n = 22; unilateral, n = 8). Lateral projection measurements of the reconstructive vermilion tubercle showed a mean increase of 149%. Satisfactory results were obtained, both cosmetically and functionally, in all 30 patients. There were minimal perioperative complications. The postoperative scars are not remarkable at all.

Conclusions The technique is relatively simple. The bilateral lip mucosa flaps provided a versatile and reliable option for the correction of vermilion defects from secondary cleft lip deformities.

From the Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Suzhou University, Suzhou.

Received February 10, 2011, and accepted for publication, after revision, May 27, 2011.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Li-jun Wu, MD, Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Suzhou University, Suzhou 215004, China. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.