Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 2, P163-168, February 2012

Management of lip hemangiomas: Minimizing peri-oral scars

Published:September 21, 2011DOI:



      Hemangiomas are the most common benign tumor of infancy, affecting females more than males. Lip hemangiomas are of particular concern because of their relatively increased risk to ulcerate during the proliferative period. Ulcerated hemangiomas of the lip can lead to increased scarring, loss of lip contour, and disfigurement. Most will require surgical correction to restore normal labial anatomy.


      A retrospective chart review between 2004 and 2010 for surgically treated lip hemangiomas was performed. Demographic data, location of the hemangioma, age at operation, and number of operations were recorded. Two independent observers evaluated lip appearance post-operatively using 5-point scales to examine scar, symmetry, contour, and color, with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor.


      Between 2004 and 2010, eleven patients underwent surgical correction. Ten of the eleven were female. 18% (2/11) were ulcerated. One third (4/11) was in the upper lip and two-thirds (7/11) were in the lower lip. The mean age of the patients at the time of operation was 3.6 years (range, 14 months to 17 years). The average number of operations per patient was 1.6 (range, 1–3). The average scores for lip appearance after surgical correction ranged between 3.95 (good) for lip contour to 4.5 (good to excellent) for color.


      Lip hemangiomas often require surgical correction. Treatment goals include restoration of normal lip contour and strategic placement of the incision. By taking advantage of the natural involution that occurs and careful planning, procedures can be staged to minimize distortion of the lip. Even lip hemangiomas that cross the vermilio-cutaneous (VC) junction can be excised and lip contour achieved without the need to extend scars beyond the VC junction.


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