Aesthetic units of the face have been previously described. The lip itself may be divided into smaller topographic subunits. The lateral subunit is bordered by philtrum column, nostril sill, alar base, and nasolabial crease, while the medial topographic subunit is one-half the philtrum. When a large part of a subunit has been lost, replacing the entire subunit rather than simply patching the defect often gives a superior result. The only tissue suitable for the aesthetic restoration of moderate-sized defects of the upper lip is lower lip. An exact pattern is outlined and an Abbe flap is taken from the midline of the lower lip and transferred in two stages. Like tissue is replaced in kind, border scars are positioned aesthetically, and the orbicularis sphincter is reconstituted with an intact symmetrical commissure, muscular modiolus, and upper and lower lip symmetry. Spontaneous reinnervation by appropriate segmental facial branches occurs within 1 year. Four patients are presented.
©1986American Society of Plastic Surgeons