Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in lip reduction. I had persistent dryness and swelling on my lower lip. A biopsy was performed the report of which is below. Since considerable amount of tissue was removed during biopsy my symptoms have improved somewhat. However the problem is still not resolved completely. My lower lip is still very bulky. So I am thinking if a lip reduction surgery or vermillionectomy of the lower lip would help me.
A: Thank you for sending your pictures and describing your lip symptoms. A lower lip reduction can definitely help the symptoms of cheilitis by removing the abnormal mucosal tissue. The degree of symptom improvement is based on how much of the abnormal (dried) mucosa that can be removed without creating any significant lip distortion.
I would think subtotal lip reduction first before considering a total vermilionectomy which will cause some lower lip color distortions. A vermiollionectomy can always be performed secondarily of the lip reduction does not provide significant symptom improvement.
Reducing the lower lip is often performed under local anesthesia. Resorbable sutures are used to close the incision which take a few weeks to dissolve or fall out on their own.
Dr. Barry Eppley