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Dermatologic Aspects of Lip Reconstruction

Background

The lips are the focal point of the face during social interactions. The lips are composed of skin, muscle, and mucosa, and they lack direct bony attachments or infrastructure. Hence, the lips are elastic and pliable; these characteristics are both advantages and disadvantages during surgical reconstruction.

The lips play many important roles and are particularly important in both verbal and nonverbal communication. They are necessary for articulation of the letters B, F, M, N, and V.
In addition, people use their lips to communicate a variety of feelings through facial expression. The lips serve important functions in eating and imbibition. The competence of the oral sphincter is important during chewing and sucking through a straw.

Because the lips are vital for interpersonal relations, even the slightest asymmetry is easily detected and can cause devastating consequences for the patient. Therefore, maintaining the functional and cosmetic integrity of the lips during surgical reconstruction is of the utmost importance.

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