In 1993, I underwent lip surgery. Doctor cut and stitched by my lips. I had no shape and had bad scars. In 1999, I underwent another procedure implanting Alloderm. However, implant could not correct the missing cupid's bow. Therefore, injectable fillers were used. During the past year, my upper lip started protruding. I visited the doctor who implanted Alloderm and he said, "I see it," and recommended I should leave it alone until better options were available. I want the implants removed and my lips reconstructed. Is this possible now?
Is Lip Reconstruction Possible for Me?
Doctor Answers 3
The upper and lower lips have many subunits, which are named for their geographical location. You have lost the "cupid's bow peak", which is the central part of the upper lip. Use old photos, taken before your intial surgeries to communicate with your surgeon your aesthetic ideals but be prepared to have staged reconstruction. During the course of burn reconstruction, we often have to reconstruct the upper lip with tissue "borrowed" from the lower lip, a process called an Abbe flap. Hopefully you wouldn't need such a drastic procedure, but without seeing a current photo, it's difficult to exclude it absolutely.
Removing the Alloderm is possible, but you will need not only tissue of adequate volume but also color. It's possible that you will need micropigmentation or tattooing of the area, after the surgical aspects are complete. Good luck.
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Alloderm Gets Absorbed In Time
Alloderm grafts get absorbed over time. It is not possible to remove the implants after a few years of placement. The protrusion you are feeling might not be related to Alloderm but the result of scar maturation and contracture. You have the ability to try reversible fillers like Juvederm and Restylane to see if the lip shape can be improved. The cupids bow is a tough area but it can be improved with proper use of the fillers.
Lip reconstruction is a challenging surgery but can produce good results in the right hands.
A photo would be best to view where your lips are now.
In the absence of a photo what I can tell you is this:
1) It may be possible to remove the AlloDerm and advance your own tissues (from inside the mouth) to help recreate the red lip.
2) The natural curves of cupids bow are the hardest to recreate.
3) In extreme cases of lip deformity, we can transplant lip tissue from the lower lip to the upper lip. This leaves scars but is a good option if the natural tissue of the upper lip is truly damaged or missing.
Post a photo and I can tell you more!
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.