I discussed the issue with my plastic surgeon, Doctor Trevor Born. Having undergone a facial fat transfer with Doctor Born, that I was most pleased with, I assessed that he had the skills necessary to provide me with eminently kissable lips, and rectify the slugs that at the time I felt I possessed. Notwithstanding, at first, I was somewhat reticent as Doctor Born's website did not mention his skills in cheiloplasty. After inquiring, with the permission of the patient, I was provided with photos of her before and after lip reduction. This patient had, like myself, lips deformed from silicone injections. Her result seemed optimal. Doctor Born was also able to answer my numerous questions regarding his technical approach, and modus operandi, that assured me of his knowledge.
The words ''reduction by excision'' resonated with a chillingly dramatic ring, making me rather skittish about the procedure. Nevertheless after Doctor Born attempted a steroid injection of Kenalog 10 (triamcinolone acetonide) into my lips that yielded no results, I realised that cheiloplasty was the only option.
Doctor Born and I discussed my expectations. I sent him photos of lips that I found aesthetic. I clarified that I did not want a huge reduction that would entail my lips were markedly smaller than previously. I still desired lush lips that evoked sensuality; after all as Rostand poetically penned in Cyrano de Bergerac: ''A kiss is a secret which takes the lips for the ear...'' After gauging the situation Doctor Born proposed that a 30% reduction was realistic.
My appearance following the operation was abhorrent, as is visible in my photos, I was teratoid. The black stitches were obtrusively obvious and for the first 24 hours my lips constantly oozed with blood, eventually congealing into coagulated blood. I would wake up with sanguine fluid on my pillow-case, as my lips would bleed throughout the night.
I resembled the satanic muppet who lives next door to Mr. F. Krueger on Elmstreet. I advise anybody planning their cheiloplasty to take a minimum of 5 days off work. You should rest at home after this operation, that is unless you want to get a cheap thrill by frightening the aged and traumatising children. On the positive side, if you attend a Halloween Party you will win the prize for best costume without even donning a mask!
I had little pain, however experienced significant difficulty eating and drinking due to the freezing agent used during the operation and due to the intense hypertrophy of my lips. This caused water to spill all over me when drinking, and food to dribble down my chin. I felt like an inept 2 year old. Day by day this situation improved until, 2 weeks later, I was able to imbibe victuals without such problems.
Advice: The smoothies and ice-cream diet
If you undergo cheiloplasty you will need to alter your diet for the first weeks or so. I recommend cold foods that do not require mastication such as gazpachos, smoothies, purées and minced meats. Due to discomfort, swelling and inability to move the mouth as habitually, solids, in particular anything crunchy or hard, are not a viable option. For the first few days I drank water out of a bottle or a glass with a narrow aperture as otherwise it would spill everywhere.
Do not attempt to eat hot, acidic, spicy, salty or otherwise pungent foods, as these will prove painful and may increase swelling. I found I could not eat food when immediately cooked as my lips were direly sensitive to heat. I ate ice cream daily, finding it very cooling and thus soothing. I recommend coconut-based ice cream as I believe dairy can be potentially inflammatory for some.
I also made smoothies with frozen fruits which I recommend again, due to the soothing coldness which is truly blissful on swollen lips. A salubrious and scrumptious recipe is a blend of frozen cherries, blueberries, blackberries, mango (a good source of vitamins and anti-oxidants), extra ice (for its cooling properties), a dash of turmeric (anti-inflammatory) and coconut milk (to reiterate, I avoid milk which is inflammatory) plus some floravit which supplies b-vitamins and iron needed following potential blood loss during surgery. The iron is optimally absorbed given the vitamin C supplied by the fruits. I also concocted fresh juices with cooling vegetables, such as cucumber, kale and celery, that proved refreshing and soothing.
You may not be particularly loquacious at first. I found talking a somewhat irritating endeavour. Due to swelling I could not articulate clearly and when I tried, it hurt. Albeit, I found Latin languages were easier to utilise than others. French, in particular, was easier for conversation than English due to the looser modus of moving the lips in this idiom.
Expect your lips to be dry and flakey. Mine seemed to peel constantly. Much as I don't like petroleum by-products I found vaseline proved the best emollient on my worst days. Most lip balms seemed ineffective. Otherwise I found vitamin E oil to also be helpful. I kept an Eau Thermale d'Avène atomiser in my fridge at all times and repeatedly sprayed my lips with the cool water throughout the day, as I found it gave me relief from irritation.
It took 3 months for my lips to regain normality. Up until 4 months I had swelling that would cyclically reappear only to evanesce again. This has now completely subsided although excessively spicy or salty foods still tend to produce slight aggravation and minor swelling that passes rapidly.
My lips are certainly less amorphous than previously. Doctor Born warned me that a perfect result might be unattainable due to the nature of the silicone. Although my lower lip is still asymmetrical, this is reduced as compared to previously. Albeit, I hope this may diminish and wonder whether in the future this might be improved upon, although silicone-injected lips are notoriously difficult to work with. My upper lip is much more symmetrical and I evaluate that the overall appearance of my lips is enhanced as contrasted with before. There are some days when I wish I had chosen to have a larger portion of lip exscinded but I opted for a conservative approach. If necessary more can be removed in the future. This may be compulsory regardless. Silicone injections may lead to ongoing hypertrophy of the lips over time, as silicone can never be entirely removed since it infiltrates the tissues; it is not self-contained like an implant. Furthermore a full evaluation cannot be surmised currently, as it can take 1 year for the full results to be discernible. Overall I assess that there is an improvement and am pleased with my decision to undergo cheiloplasty.
If you are considering this procedure and have questions feel free to contact me. I know how daunting cheiloplasty is and may be able to answer your queries. If you are about to undergo this surgery I wish you a speedy recovery.