To achieve an aesthetic lip in cleft lip repair, central fullness and slight eversion of the vermilion are necessary. If only cutaneous anthropometric length is considered, symmetry and good vermilion contour may be obtained, but a seemingly tightness of the lip can occur. To prevent this, it is necessary to obtain sufficient central mucosal tissue of the oral lining.
The authors used 2 methods to obtain adequate tissue of the central area of the oral lining. First, the mucosa of the central area of the oral lining was supplemented using a medial mucosal flap, and the amount of superfluous tissue was minimized. Second, a relaxing incision was placed at the oral lining of the lateral flap, which was subsequently centrally advanced.
A total of 389 patients with a unilateral cleft lip underwent surgery using these methods and achieved satisfactory results. Occasional cases of lateral vermilion bulging were encountered during long-term follow-up, but these were easily corrected by bulging excision.
Consideration of the oral lining is essential in cleft lip repair. The authors were able to reconstruct an aesthetically pleasing lip with central fullness by obtaining an adequate amount of tissue in the central area of oral lining.