The boundaries of the aesthetic units of the face are often crossed after lower lip cancer surgery. The aim of this study was to compare the aesthetic and functional outcome after use of different operative techniques based on the concept of the aesthetic units of the face.
Sixty-three patients were evaluated after lower lip reconstruction. The aesthetic outcome was recorded by standard photography evaluating the disruption of the boundaries of the aesthetic units of the face, lip projection, and the resulting facial expression. The functional outcome consisted of the evaluation of mouth opening, pouting, and lips at rest for the evaluation of mouth continence. Three techniques were used: wedge excision, the Webster-Fries method, and the step technique. The step technique was combined with an Abbé or an Estlander flap in defects involving more than two-thirds of the lip.
In defects involving up to one-third of the lip, the aesthetic outcome was better for the step technique than for wedge excision (a statistical trend was observed, p = 0.088). In defects involving two-thirds of the lip, the aesthetic and functional outcome was better using the step technique than the Webster-Fries method (p = 0.002), because the boundaries of the aesthetic units are respected. In defects involving more than two-thirds of the lip, the result was better using the step technique combined with the Abbé flap.
The authors have shown that the step technique alone or combined with a flap of the opposite lip is a rational approach for preserving the aesthetic units of the face and its function.
Regensburg, Bonn, Karlsruhe, and Kiel, Germany
From the Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Regensburg and University of Bonn, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Institute of Medical Informatics and Statistics, University Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, and Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, General Hospital Karlsruhe.
Received for publication December 9, 2005; accepted May 18, 2006.
J. Camilo Roldán, M.D., D.M.D., Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß-Allee 11, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org