What is Cheiloplasty? - Step To Health

What is Cheiloplasty?

This article explains what cheiloplasty is, what the process is like, and its benefits and possible risks. Learn all about lip surgery here!
What is Cheiloplasty?

Last update: 30 November, 2021

The word cheiloplasty derives from the Greek words kheilos, which means ‘lips,’ and plasty, which translates to ‘molded’ or ‘shaped.’ And that’s precisely what it is: a cosmetic surgery to shape the outermost part of the mouth (the lips).

Cheiloplasty can be performed for several purposes: increasing or decreasing the volume or correcting alterations and deformities, whether congenital or acquired.

When we hear the word surgery, perhaps we think of a complicated surgical procedure. However, it doesn’t apply in this case. In fact, cheiloplasty is a simple procedure that usually takes less than an hour.

However, anesthesia must be administered, and the corresponding safety protocols must be observed. It also requires some recovery time and some aftercare.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is cheiloplasty, and what is it for?

Some people believe that they don’t have the mouth they would like due to congenital causes, trauma, aesthetic treatments of dubious quality, a lack of teeth, or even their age.

Aging affects the firmness of the skin and the tone of the muscles around the mouth. Also, with age, small vertical wrinkles appear on the lips, which are difficult to disguise.

That is why sometimes we may feel the need to undergo aesthetic treatments. Such procedures range from micro-pigmentation or tattooing on the lips to surgery and fillers.

In particular, cheiloplasty is a surgical alternative to correct small imperfections and achieve the goal of having full lips. The aims are to highlight the lip ridge, increase the width of the exposed skin, give volume or decrease it, modify the shape, or give structure.

In this sense, cheiloplasty is recommended for the following cases:

  • Those who have very thin, sunken, or small lips.
  • Those who have lost volume due to age.
  • People who present asymmetry or deformity due to an accident or congenital defect.
  • Those who have had previous aesthetic treatment and it was unsuccessful.

The different types of cheiloplasty

Depending on the goal, and the procedure or techniques as well as the materials used, there are several types of cheiloplasty. Let’s take a look at them.

Chica pinta sus labios.
The lips are very important in the aesthetics of the face. That is why some people want to enhance them with a lip augmentation surgery.

Lip augmentation

This modality is applied in people with thin lips or those who have lost volume due to age. For lip augmentation, two types of fillers are used: fat from the Bichat balls (accumulations in the area of the patient’s own cheeks) or hyaluronic acid.

Lip reduction

This is less frequent, since most people want to show off full lips. However, when they’re excessively developed and harmonize little with the face, a surgeon may perform a reduction.

Corrective cheiloplasty

Reconstruction work is a little more complex in people who have suffered trauma, burns, injuries, or genetic alterations such as cleft lip. However, this type of procedure doesn’t exclude the possibility of using fillers.

Primary or secondary cheiloplasty

This doesn’t just refer to the fact that it’s not the first time the person undergoes the intervention, but also to the fact that, in some cases, cheiloplasty is performed to correct some other previously performed treatment.

For example, they may do this due to complications caused by silicone infiltrations.

How is the procedure performed?

The first step is the interview with the medical team. Everything concerning the operation and aftercare, including possible risks, is explained to the patient in this phase. The consent form and any required documentation will also be signed.

Once the administrative aspect is completed, a general diagnosis of the patient’s health is made, and the patient’s needs, wishes, and concerns are listened to. Also, photographs of the area to be treated are taken and analyzed.

Based on the evaluation of the medical team, they will determine the actions to follow in the treatment phase itself. Then, a date is set for the patient to go to the operating room.

Once there, anesthesia is applied, which is usually local. However, this also depends on the decisions made by the medical team, the patient’s preferences, and their overall state of health.

It should be noted that cheiloplasty can be done on the upper lip, lower lip, or both. Collagen or other fillers, such as hyaluronic acid, are also often used. Grafts of the patient’s own tissue or fat may also be used.

Depending on the type of surgery, incisions will be made in the front or inside of the lip. Overall, the procedure takes no more than an hour in total. The removal of the stitches usually occurs one week after the intervention.

The advantages and benefits f cheiloplasty

Compared to other procedures, cheiloplasty is a simple but precise operation. Among its benefits, we can find the following:

  • The results are immediate. However, they’re better appreciated after a few weeks.
  • No deformation of the lips is required.
  • Sutures are hidden, and the scars are invisible.
  • The surgery is ambulatory and does not require hospitalization.
  • The procedure is minimally invasive, and the risks are low.
Queiloplastia en un consultorio.
The procedure is one of the safest in cosmetic surgery. It takes less than an hour and is ambulatory.

Care before and after

Despite the simplicity of the procedure, precautions should be taken before and after. For example, it’s necessary to make sure that the person doesn’t have allergies to local anesthetics or the substances used as fillers. On the other hand, it’s possible that if the person is taking any medication, they may have to stop taking it before the operation.

Overall, the following recommendations should be taken into account regarding post cheiloplasty care:

  • Rest for the first 24 hours.
  • Smoking is not recommended.
  • Maintain a soft diet for one week.
  • Do not open your mouth wide or make sudden movements.
  • Avoid sun exposure.
  • Don’t apply make-up to the mouth for at least one month.
  • Don’t do sports or exercise for a period of 72 hours.

The side effects and contraindications of cheiloplasty

In the first days after the operation, there will be swelling, difficulty of mobility, bruising, pain, and possibly slight bleeding. However, these symptoms should disappear after the first week.

On the other hand, cheiloplasty is contraindicated in cases such as the following:

  • People with autoimmune diseases
  • Coagulation disorders
  • People with cardiovascular disease
  • Cold sores
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women

Sensual but safe lips

While cheiloplasty is a fairly straightforward surgical procedure, no surgery is completely risk-free. In this and all cases, there are always latent possibilities of complication.

However, these risks can be minimized by controlling the various factors. For example, a qualified and certified professional must perform the surgery. Then, they must make sure that the procedure is performed in a controlled environment and follows the proper protocols.

On the other hand, the definitive results of cheiloplasty can be seen after one month has elapsed. However, the effects may diminish with time.

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