Lip Reduction After Waiting for 5 Years - Plano, TX

Hello, I am writing to share my experience with a...

Hello,
I am writing to share my experience with a double lip reduction procedure that I had on 10/15/2015. I used RealSelf for my research and thought I should contribute to this website with my own experience in return. I have large Asian ethnic lips that are not proportional to the rest of my face so I wanted them reduced.
I consulted with two Doctors prior to choosing one for the procedure. The first Doctor I spoke with was local and the second was located in Texas. I visited the first Doctor in person to get a sense of what he can do in terms of reducing the size of my lips. I consulted with the second via email by sending him pictures of myself. I decided to go with the second Doctor because it seems like he has more experience with the procedure. The Doctor I chose was Dr. Samuel Lam. I would recommend trying to meet any doctor in person prior to the procedure to get more of a one on one consultation experience. It was strange to not actually meet the people who will be altering your lips.
Dr. Lam was fully booked so I had to wait about a month for my procedure. I flew to Texas the day before my scheduled surgery date to meet with Dr. Lam. He told me how much of my lip he thinks should be removed. He basically put his finger at the point where he recommends removing. It was a bit difficult to imagine what my lips would look like from this technique. I had to sort of guess. He said he didn’t want to remove too much because it would not look natural. I trusted that he knew what he was doing since he has a lot of experience this this procedure so I went with it. I was afraid of doing too much or little. He did mention that he would do a revision surgery at a discount if I wanted my lips to be reduced further. I am hoping that I do not need to a revision.
After speaking with Dr. Lam, I was given a bunch of paperwork to sign and prescriptions for medication I should pick up. The medication consists of an antibiotic ointment, painkillers, and a steroid. I picked them up prior to the surgery because I didn't want to be seen in public right after the procedure. Dr. Lam’s staff members were all very friendly and kind. They really took care of me and made me feel comfortable.
DAY 1
The next day I was ready to go in for my procedure. I recommend eating as much carbohydrates as possible prior to the procedure. After the procedure, you will probably have no desire to try to eat anything due to the swelling. The procedure started with meeting Dr. Lam’s assistant during the surgery. She put a gown over my clothes and sat me down at the operation chair. She had everything setup for the procedure and took my temperature and blood pressure. Dr. Lam came in shortly after to talk to me again and draw the line of incisions on my lips with a marker. He will then inject anesthesia in your mouth area. There is a very light sting when this happens but it is not bad. Dr. Lam lets the anesthesia take effect before coming back and injecting a few more shots to complete the numbing.
Your eyes are completely covered during the procedure. This is to shield the bright lights from hitting you in the eye. I did not feel much during the procedure. However, you can tell that Dr. Lam is tugging on your lips to remove part of it. Try not to imagine that it looks like during this process. After the tugging you can tell when he starts stitching the incision line. He does one lip and then proceeds to the second lip. The surgery itself took about an hour.
After the procedure, the assistant will clean up your mouth area. You’ll get to see the results after everything is cleaned up. Honestly, when I first looked into the mirror I was terrified because my lips were really swollen, bloody, and I had dark black stitches on them protruding on the outside. I also could not close my mouth because my lips were so swollen. I was drooling quite a bit. There was no way I could be seen in public without getting looks from others in this condition. Dr. Lam told me that the deformed swelling should go away after 7 days. I was given cotton swabs, gaze pads, and face masks after the procedure. I spoke to Dr. Lam a bit and left for my hotel afterwards. I had to put my face masks on since I looked horrible.
You will feel the swelling after the procedure. The painkillers will help with the pain, I did not feel any pain, but you can still feel the swelling. It was extremely difficult to eat and drink after the procedure. I was not able to use my lips because I did not want to move them much. I had to buy a sippy cup to let water dip down my mouth. I suggest going home and sleeping immediately. Also, I had to make sure I applied the ointment so my lips do not dry out.
DAY 2
I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Lam the next day. My lips were very swollen and it was still difficult to eat and drink. However, there was no pain in my lip area. I did not have to take any pain killers. When I saw Dr. Lam he said everything looked fine and that I should be experiencing swelling for the next 7 days. There wasn’t much else he did at that point. He just wanted to see me to make sure there wasn’t anything usual and made sure I was feeling alright. Again, not much eating or drinking this day. I was still extra careful when moving my mouth. I recommend getting yogurt and bananas to eat. You can swallow these without doing any chewing. The rest of my body felt normal but I had very obvious swollen lips.
DAY 3
The third day was my travel day back home. I was worried that people would still be freaked out by my lips so I wore a mask to the airport. Obviously, you’ll have to take your mask off at security. My lips were very swollen this day but a lot of the dry blood on my lips had faded away so you can now clearly see the sutures. I was able to chew very soft pasta and chicken breast. It was still uncomfortable.
DAY 4
I looked a lot better today. Keep in mind my lips are still swollen and my mouth still does not completely closes. I was able to pasta and pizza now. However, still a lot of tightness in my lips and the sutures are still sticking out.
Day 5
Today, I still swelling in my lips but it is not as bad as the previous days. I still did not feel comfortable going to work since it is still very obvious something was going on with my lips.

Day 7 (Skipped Writing about Day 6)

Today the swelling has gone down even more. They are still a little swollen but I think its mainly because the sutures are still in place. There is still tightness in my lips when I speak. I can now go out in public and no one will notice that I am only 6 days post op. Some of the sutures have dissolve but a majority of them are still there. Not back to work yet because people would notice the sutures if they look at my face long enough.

Day 8

It been 7 days post surgery. Basically my lips have had 7 full days to heal since the procedure. I still have very minimal numbness in my lips. The sutures have not dissolved, it seems like they are still hanging on pretty strong. I wish I could have them taken off now because I don't think they are providing any support and are just slowing down the healing process at this point. The swelling has almost completely gone away. I wish I could see my lips without sutures. I am happy with their size so far. It is now just a matter of seeing how much smaller they'll become in 3 months time.

Attached are two pictures. The one with my mouth open is pre op. The one with stitches are the post op pics and as of today.

Day 9

Another day has passed. I do not see much of a difference in my lips since yesterday. I think another suture came off but the others are still going on strong. The sutures stick out like little spikes from my lips. I really wish the sutures would dissolve quicker at this point. The incision is pretty much healed now so the sutures are no longer supporting anything. I highly recommend, if possible, getting sutures that are not dissolvable and must be removed by your PS. I feel like my healing is dependent on how quickly my body can make the sutures dissolve as oppose to how my actual lips are healing at this point.

Also, I've added a picture of my lips right after the procedure. Note that the white cream is the ointment I was prescribed. The cream makes it look worst than it already was.

Day 10

Lips still look the same as they did yesterday. It looks like another suture feel off. There is still a lot of tightness and numbness in my lips. My lips look better than they feel. I do notice a couple of little "bump" on my lips around the suture line. I guess they are more like excess lip tissue than bumps but they stand out because my lips do not look smooth.

No picture update today since there isn't much that has changed.

Note that I haven't rated Dr. Lam yet. I want to continue to see how things turn out because coming to a conclusion of his work.

Day 11

I'd like to reiterate the fact that the dissolvable sutures are stifling the healing process. The benefits of using dissolvable sutures for this procedure outweighs the benefits. I am having a hard time moving my lips and eating because of the restraints from the sutures. Like I previously mentioned, the healing of my lips are now dependent on how quickly these sutures dissolve and not necessarily on how quickly my lips can heal. I am confident that my lips would be in a much better condition right now if the sutures were all out. The sutures are no longer providing any support at this point and are just in the way. This is very frustrating because they are not showing any weakness in their durability and I cannot conveniently go to the surgeon to have them removed.

Word of advice, do not choose dissolvable sutures if you have other options. Sure, they save you a trip to the surgeon's office to have them remove but they will add on days, if not weeks, to your recovery time. They are extremely durable which will work against you in the long run.

Day 13

Almost two weeks has passed since my lip reduction procedure.

I haven't been updating as frequently as before since the critical phase of healing has passed. As of today, I think I have just one stitch left in my lips. I can't remove it myself because the knot is really small and very tight up against my lips.

I still feel tightness and tingling in my lips but the swelling has really gone now. Just imagine the tightness as the feeling you get when you have really cold and dry lips and when you try to smile it feels like you're about cause a tear on your lip. However, the tear doesn't actually happen. I also have bumps on my lower lip along the incision line. A good thing to note is there is very little scarring from the procedure. I am guessing it is because the lips heal really well. For instance, if you ever bit your lip, when it heals you can't really tell it was bitten before. I feel the incision healed the same way.

I don't think much else will change for now so I won't be making anymore updates for another 3 weeks. Hopefully by then I can give a final assessment and give Dr. Lam a rating.

3 Months Out

Hello,

It has been about 3 months now since my procedure. I have to say I am very happy with the results. My lips have noticeably change (from what I can see at least) but not too many people have noticed it besides my mother (I didn't tell her I had the procedure). I guess moms always know. My lips are in no way tiny now but they aren't a distraction on my face anymore.

I do still feel a bit of tightness on my lips when I try to smile but it doesn't stop me from a smile. There is just a tightness feeling. I also have one small white bump on the inside of my lower lip which doesn't seem to be going away. It pops once in a while but comes back. Now sure what is it.

I wish I had done this procedure earlier in my life.
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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