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What Is Cheiloplasty?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A cheiloplasty, or lip surgery, is a cosmetic procedure designed to reshape the lips. Some people have the size of their lips reduced, while others would like their lips made larger and fuller. Lip reduction cheiloplasty may be performed to reduce the size of natural lips, but it's also sometimes done to remove fillers or implants that have been previously placed to enhance the fullness and size of the lips. The procedure may be performed under local anesthetic or general anesthetic, depending on the preferences of both surgeon and patient. Surgeons usually reduce the size of the lips by removing a small amount of flesh from beneath the skin of the lip, while they use a range of implants and filler products available to increase the size and enhance the fullness of the lips.

Many surgeons will suggest using the patient's own tissues to perform a lip augmentation cheiloplasty. This tissue may be taken from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. It is also sometimes taken from the facial area. In addition to any potential scarring of the lips themselves, patients having this kind of lip augmentation may also have scarring on the area where the implant tissues were removed.

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Artificial fillers and implants are sometimes used to enhance the size and fullness of the lips. Hyaluronic acid-based products, silicone oil, and Gortex fabric may be inserted into the lips to enhance their size and fullness. Some patients may not be happy with the results of such a procedure, and may choose to have a lip reduction cheiloplasty to remove the implant or filler material. The difficulty and riskiness of such a procedure generally varies, depending on the type and quantity of the implantable material used. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are said to be the simplest to remove later.

The results of a lip augmentation cheiloplasty vary, depending on what type of implant or filler the patient has received. Lip augmentations using the patient's own fatty tissues are the most effective. While the post-operative size of the lips will typically shrink by about half over the first five months following surgery, the results thereafter are very long-lasting. Implants also typically offer more permanent results. Patients who receive a lip augmentation using fillers, however, are often advised that more filler material will need to be inserted into the lips every six to nine months.

For patients desiring lip reduction cheiloplasty, surgeons usually make small cuts near the edges of the lips, through which they are able to remove a segment of flesh from beneath the skin of the lip. The surgeon may use tweezers to remove firm implants from the lips. If implant or filler material is difficult to remove in this manner, the surgeon may simply cut it out, along with a very small portion of the patient's tissue.

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