Can My Child’s Lip Scars Be Improved By Scar Revision?

Q: Dr. Eppley, My  3 year-old son fell and cut his lip in two places about 1 year ago. We did not get it stitched up and it healed on its own. I now find that he has 2 scars, obviously more noticeable when he smiles and the skin is taught. To describe the scar if you imagine placing a ruler into his mouth towards the edge of the mouth that would be the location and direction. They are on the bottom lip and go across the interface between lip and face and travel approx half way across the lip It is every parents worst nightmare to be responsible for their child’s suffering. I have spent a lot of time searching but found no helpful guidance until your site. Could you advise me as to what degree the scar will fade and become invisible, if we decided to pursue surgery of some form would this eradicate the visible scar and when would be the best time to operate i.e. soon or as a teenager for example?

A: Many lip lacerations fortunately occur along the vermilion lines or grooves which are the natural weak tissue planes in the lip mucosa. This is the equivalent to having a laceration along a natural skin crease anywhere else in the body. (e.g., horizontal lines in the forehead) This usually results in the best scar but also a perfect location to perform a linear scar revision if needed.

In looking at our child’s pictures, I can see that he has two such lip scars, the one closest to the corner of the mouth being wider and more noticeable. The one in the front of it is not as wide and hence less obvious. At one year after the injury, these scars are mature and will nto fade from what they appear today. Only excisional scar revisional can provide an opportunity for improvement in their appearance. The time to do such s scar revision is whenever you as parents or he decides that it is an appearance issue. The outcome from such a lip scar revision is not based on age. It can work well at any age.   

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana