Author(s): Zide BM, Glat PM, Stile FL, Longaker MT
Vascular lesions involving the lips pose a difficult problem for both the surgeon and patient. Their removal by surgery may result in greater disfigurement and impairment than the original lesion. When nonsurgical modalities fail, using a well-planned strategy of sequential procedures can provide excellent results. Many hemangioma patients require judicious serial debulking of excess tissue mass, whereas enlargement from port-wine lesions may require direct aggressive surgery. Over a 10-year period, 38 patients underwent surgery for treatment of vascular lip enlargement. In 27 patients, the lip deformities were caused by hemangiomas. The remaining 11 patients had macrocheilia associated with port-wine vascular malformations. This paper specifically addresses hemangiomas of the lips, tenets for their removal, and reduction strategies. Of the 27 patients with hemangiomas involving the lips, 12 had had some form of previous treatment including corticosteroids (4 patients), embolization (3 patients), laser (3 patients), and interferon (2 patients). All 12 of these patients had unsatisfactory results. Specific tenets for the surgical management of these patients are presented. The distribution of the facial hemangiomas was as follows: 15 patients had isolated involvement of the upper lip, 7 lesions involved the lower lip alone and 5 involved both upper and lower lips. Additionally, 10 of these lesions involved the cheek(s), nose, or chin to some degree. Six patients experienced some form of functional impairment before our evaluation including difficulty with eating or drinking, visual obstruction, and psychosocial problems. All operations were performed following several principles established by the senior surgeon (B.M.Z.). By following the tenets presented in this report, he has achieved near-normal lip form, giving the patient marked improvement in appearance and function.