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Lip Reconstruction following Mohs’ Surgery: The Role for Composite Resection and Primary Closure

Godek, Christopher P. M.D.; Weinzweig, Jeffrey M.D.; Bartlett, Scott P. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2000 - Volume 106 - Issue 4 - p 798-804

Surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction with composite resection and primary closure for the management of upper-lip defects following Mohs’ surgery were evaluated. Twenty-seven patients underwent upper-lip reconstruction following Mohs’ surgery from 1993 to 1997. Twelve of these patients were selected for this report based on adequate follow-up examinations and photographs. There were nine women and three men with a mean age of 46 years (range, 33 to 70 years). Eleven patients underwent Mohs’ surgery for basal cell carcinoma and one patient for squamous cell carcinoma of the upper lip. The defects varied in size and location, often extending beyond a single aesthetic subunit. The reconstruction was performed an average of 7 days after Mohs’ surgery (range, 1 to 23 days). In 50 percent of the cases, a full-thickness excision was performed, which included orbicularis oris and inner-lip mucosa.

The functional results were graded as near normal to normal in all cases. There were no observed changes in oral continence, eating or speech. Two patients experienced numbness medial to the operative site, but this had no adverse affect on lip function. The aesthetic results were graded as very good to excellent in all cases. Eleven of the 12 patients were satisfied with their lip appearance and function.

Conventional wisdom dictates that during reconstruction of upper-lip defects, one should attempt to maintain a majority of the uninvolved tissue for the best result. Although these techniques result in wound closure, they fail to consider lip aesthetics. By using a vertically oriented composite resection of the upper lip with the additional resection of uninvolved tissue, normal lip architecture is maintained. In our experience, this results in a superior aesthetic and functional result.

Philadelphia, Pa., and Providence, R.I.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Brown University School of Medicine.

Received for publication October 5, 1999;

revised January 7, 2000.

Scott P. Bartlett, M.D. Division of Plastic Surgery University of Pennsylvania Medical Center 10 Penn Tower, 3400 Spruce Street Philadelphia, Pa. 19104

Presented at the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons Meeting in Burlington, Vermont, on October 2, 1999.

©2000American Society of Plastic Surgeons