Cheiloplasty, also referred to as lip reduction, is a surgical procedure which reduces the appearance of excessively large, protruding or otherwise prominent lips. Some individuals seek cheiloplasty for purely aesthetic reasons to improve the appearance of large lips, while others are looking to improve the lip function in cases where large lips interfere with eating, talking and dental health.
The goal of lip reduction surgery is to achieve a balance between the upper and lower lip that is also in harmony with the rest of the facial features. During the surgery, excess lip tissue is removed to reduce the size of the lips. Candidates for cheiloplasty should be physically healthy and realistic in their expectations for improvement. While large lips are a feature shared amongst various ethnic groups to include African American, Asian, and other groups, they may also be congenital or acquired as from trauma.
Dr. Harris performs the cheiloplasty surgery at the Center for Aesthetic Modernism located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. This is a fully accredited surgical facility that is convenient to all metro Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia areas. Cheiloplasty is often performed with local anesthesia which may be combined with oral sedation. Surgical times average approximately one hour. During the surgery, an incision is made on the inside of the mouth running the length of the lip. A strip of skin is then excised from one or both lips as needed. The incisions are then closed with either dissolvable or non-dissolvable sutures.
Overall healing time after cheiloplasty takes approximately one to two weeks. Swelling is common, particularly during the first few days. Though the majority of noticeable swelling will fade within a few weeks, the final result may not be visible for three months. Bruising may also occur and patients may experience some discomfort which can be controlled with medication. Diet may be restricted for a period of time due to the intraoral incisions. If non-dissolvable sutures are used, they are generally removed after seven to ten days. Within five to seven days after the cheiloplasty procedure, most patients are able to resume work and other non-strenuous activities, though exercise and more strenuous activities will need to be postponed for three weeks. Contact sports should be avoided for six to eight weeks.