Is There A Surgery To Treat Angular Cheilitis?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have angular cheilitis and have had it for over 8 years since I was 14. I have tried numerous steroid and anti-fungal creams however it does not go away permanently. I was made aware some surgery can be done on the lips, to solve this problem. If there was something to be done, I’d like to know what it might be?

A: While topical medication is the primary treatment for angular cheilitis, some patients have an anatomic arrangement at the corners of their mouth that predisposes them to chronic salivary wetness. If the corners of the mouth are turned down significantly, there is a natural spillway for salivary spill or to allow chronic wetness to occur at the mucosa of the mouth corners. In these cases, it may be beneficial to consider a corner of the mouth lift to relieve this spillway effect.  The lift removes the overhanging tissues and eliminates a downslanting mouth corner. In other cases without a significant corner downturn, the chronically inflamed or irritated mucosa just inside the mouth corners may be simply excised. This removes the chronically infect mucosa and brings in new healthy mucosa that is not inoculated.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianaopolis, Indiana