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Recent advances in lip reconstruction

Vanison, Christopher; Beckmann, Nicholas; Smith, Aaron

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: June 2019 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 219–226
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000531

Purpose of review This article reviews recently described techniques used to reconstruct lip defects. Emphasis is placed on the ability of these flaps to restore function and appearance of the lips as well as their limitations.

Recent findings The focus of recent advances in lip reconstruction has been to achieve better oral competence, speech and improved cosmetic appearance. New modifications to the traditional Karapandzic and Abbé flaps have expanded their uses. A host of novel local tissue transfer techniques has become available with improved outcomes and less morbidity. Similarly, new free tissue transfer methods have allowed for the creation of a more normal appearing lip with improved sensory and motor function. Although still experimental, tissue engineering of a mucocutaneous junction shows promise in its ability to recreate a normal vermillion.

Summary Lip reconstruction techniques have continued to become more sophisticated in order to achieve better functional and cosmetic outcomes after resection. Several new local tissue and free tissue transfer techniques have recently been described and can be included in contemporary reconstruction algorithms.

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, USA

Correspondence to Christopher Vanison, MD, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 910 Madison Avenue, Suite 408, Memphis, TN 38163, USA. Tel: +1 901 448-5885; e-mail:

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