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Dentistry/oral scar tissue reduction


QUESTION: Dr. Teig, I recently had a reversal of a genioplasty, and I want to know how long it will take for the mucosa incision scars to soften?  I read that they are initially hard, but does it take a year to fully soften?  I can actually feel the hardness of the scars while touch near the base of my lower lip.  Thank you.  Doug

ANSWER: Doug - The hardness of the mucosal scars can last quite a while.  Approximately 4-6 weeks after the surgery, the scars can be gently massaged.  In addition, beginning again 4-6 weeks after the surgery you should start a regimen of warm salt water rinses in the area of the surgery. Do the rinsing 3-4 times a day for about 2 minutes each time.

The combination of the above will go a long way in softening the scar over a few months.  Don't over rub or over rinse but the combination increases the blood flow to the area and that helps to soften the area.

I wish you well and hope you are satisfied soon.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr. Teig, I had a follow up question, and this relates to possible lip weakness or even lip incompetence.  I originally had the sliding genioplasty eight years ago, and the chin was moved forward 1cm.  It was subsequently moved back three months ago the full 1cm, but I am experiencing difficult keeping my mouth/lips closed.  There is still numbness in the area, but without an examination, am I experiencing lip weakness in the area, or does some how moving the chin back to its original position causing lip incompetence?  Is this a treatable problem without addition surgery such as lip exercises, etc, or would I have to actually consider cutting the chin again and moving it forward 5mm to not only reduce the tightness, but to eliminate this problem?  Is it possible that the muscles have not adjusted to the new position yet, and that takes time.  I did not like the chin where it was at, but this is more disturbing to me.  If the chin was brought forward, is that a much more complicated procedure given that it was advanced 1cm, brought back 1cm, and then perhaps advanced 5mm?  Can soft tissue issues be identified prior to any surgery if necessary?  Thanks.  Doug

Doug first of all, don't even think about surgery again.  Repetitive surgery can cause damage and weakness to muscles.  Nerve tissue when traumatized from surgery and not actually damaged, can take a long time to heal.  If the nerve was cut or stretched too much, the normal feelings of the nerve are traumatized and numbness is common.  It can heal or it might not.  If not, numbness might be permanent.  Especially since you had previous surgery, the surgeon this time would not know exactly where the nerve might be and the chance of trauma to the nerve is greater.  The muscles might not be adjusted.  It is important that you begin simple exercise of stretching, smiling and pursing the lips to kiss.  You should also be using warm salt water rinses under the lips for about 5 minutes 4-5 times a day to increase the blood flow. You can also do a light massage to the lip, if the wound has completely healed.

I wished I could tell you things to help, but without a direct exam I do not want to push more active treatments.  The surgeon should be helping and maybe a speech therapist can also help.

Keep me informed and let me know how things go.  


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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