Q: Dr. Eppley, I have severely chapped lips. I have tried everything for years, been to over ten doctors, and tried every lip balm and salve that exists. It gets so chapped that it is painful and a source of constant embarrassment. I have read that chapped lips can be improved by a procedure known as a vermilionectomy. What does it look like after surgery? Will there be a bruising and will the vermillonectimes heal quickly. I have been researching the internet about the procedure. The closest thing I can find about the lip procedure is for people that have lip cancer . I don’t have lip cancer but it does give me an idea about the procedure. I have not found articles for people that severe chapped lips.
A: A vermillionectomy is used for a variety of lip procedures such as cancer excision as well as cosmetic lip reductions. It is nothing more removing a strip of vermilion with the posterior edge at the wet-dry line and the anterior edge as far forward as needed to removed the desired amount of aberrant vermilion. The excision is widest in the middle and tapers to a feather edge as it comes to the corners of the mouth. It is closed by a combination of the outer lip rolling in (vermilion) and the inner lip (mucosa) rolling out. Dissolveable sutures are used for closure. Any lip surgery does tend to swell considerably but there usually is not much if any bruising. For chapped lips, which occur exclusively on the dry vermilion, the amount of improvement obtained depends on how much of the involved vermilion lies within the excisional area.
Dr. Barry Eppley