Q: Dr. Eppley, about six months ago I had a medpor chin implant inserted through an intraoral incision and secured with screws. Unfortunately, the wings were too large and malpositioned. I had a revision one month ago in which the implant was removed, trimmed and re-inserted. Now the implant is the right shape and size, but my lower lip feels shorter and tighter. The top halves of my lower teeth show with the lip at rest, and I can barely raise it enough to cover them. When raised, the lip is lower in the center than at the sides. After the original surgery I had the same problem but not as bad, and the lip eventually went back to normal. This time the lip seems worse, and I’m worried it might stay this way. My Dr. said getting the medpor implant out was “very difficult” and it took twice as long as he expected. The implant actually broke when he took it out and he added 2 extra screws to hold it together when he re-inserted it. My chin and lower lip where very swollen for two weeks afterward and the center of the lip is still slightly numb. I’m worried I might have a problem with my mentalis muscle. Does my lip issue sound like something that will go back to normal on its own or like something that will require correction? Thanks for any advice.
A: In your history you have said the key words…intraoral incision. When using this approach for chin augmentation, the superior bone attachments of the mentalis muscle are cut and have to be resutured at the end of the procedure. Besides the numbness,, it is common to have some lower lip tightening and little tethering until the tissues heal and relax again. Going through the muscle twice, particularly in a more extensive revisional procedure, traumatizes and scars the muscle again…making symptoms of tethering and lower lip retraction more significant. It is too early to tell whether this problem is temporary or permanent. If it has not significantly improved by three months after surgery then I would recommend a mentalis muscle v-y lengthening and resuspension procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley