Can A Corner Of The Mouth Lift Be Used To Treat Angular Cheilitis?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am only 56 years old but have a chronic infection of the skin below the corners of my mouth. I’ve been running for 36 years, so maybe that contributed to the sagging.  More likely it’s a combination of things including the effects of menopause. The skin below the edges of my mouth is now chronically inflamed.  Would surgery to correct this be considered medically necessary?

A: Sagging of the corners of the mouth can be a cause of angular cheilitis. Acting as a spillway for saliva, this can make the skin on the corners of the mouth chronically exposed to moisture resulting in a yeast-type skin infection. The first step would be to use a topical medication to treat the infection and then consider a corner of the mouth lift to change the skin’s exposure to salivation.

The sagging of the corners of the mouth is a simple function of aging and has nothing to do with running and menopause. It is the slow and inevitable of the lateral facial tissues falling forward against the fixed perioral tissues. Some people’s natural anatomy makes them more predisposed to deepening nasolabial folds and a skin overhang on the mouth corners driving them downward.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana