Lip Reduction

Q: Dr. Eppley, Can you do lip reduction surgery for me?? I suffer from neurofibromatosis which makes me produce a significant amount of tumors and makes my face look abnormal. I had a botched surgery when I was 9 to remove a tumor on my top lip. When I became of age i tried (with no luck) to find the surgeon responsible for leaving me with the lips I have now. He removed a tumor from my top lip but never restored a natural shape to them. They are huge uneven and unsightly. They make it hard to form words and I have no ability to form a proper smile. I am at a lost. I’m sorry if this is a long explanation, but no one has been able to help me. I just want to know is it possible to reshape and make my lips fit my face.My surgeon didn’t do a very good job of removing the whole tumor because it slightly grew back. You can see where it tried to come back thus giving me a protruding top lip and explanation of how it affects everything else. The surgery I seek isn’t listed but from what I mentioned its yet another tumor removal with hopes of restoration of lip shape.

A: Neurofibromatosis of the face is a very difficult problem for which there is no real cure. Surgical efforts attempts to remove any neurofibroma tumors and restore as much shape to facial structures as possible. But it is not easy and certainly restoring any type of shape or function to a delicate facial structure like the lips is challenging. For whatever result your lips now have I would not fault the original surgeon. He took on a difficult challenge for which there is really no ideal result. Having operated on many neurofibromatosis patients I can testify to the challenge. Neurofibroma tumors recur or grow new ones and surgery causes considerable scar tissue. This combination leaves the delicate and sensitive lip structure as bound to have some degree of residual deformity.

Hopefully further improvement is possible for lip reduction surgery. I would need to see pictures of your lips to see what possibly may be done now.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana