A New Simple, Safe, and Easy Solution for Upper Lip Dermabrasion

May 2012 | Volume 11 | Issue 5 | Original Article | 649 | Copyright © May 2012


Background: Upper lip wrinkling is a common complaint of patients seeking perioral rejuvenation. Lately, manual dermabrasion has become more popular due to its safety, minimal cost, and favorable results. In several hospitals, the ability to efficiently ste rilize sand paper has been questioned.
Methods: Between 2007 and 2010, 29 patients underwent manual dermabrasion of the skin of the upper lip using an electric cautery scratch pad during their surgeries.
Results: The average patient was aged 60.2 years. The average healing period was 5.8 days. Patient satisfaction from the procedure ranged from very good to excellent. No serious or long lasting complications have been encountered during our follow-up period.

J Drugs Dermatol.2012;11(5):649-652.


Manual dermabrasion compares favorably to mechanical dermabrasion and laser resurfacing due to its safety, minimal cost, ease of use and emancipation from the need to depend on cumbersome, complex and expensive machinery. The electric cautery scratch pad provides an excellent substitute for sandpaper while circumventing the questionability of the ability to properly sterilize sandpaper.
In recent decades, there has been a great increase in the popular- ity of facial rejuvenation surgeries. While great attention is usually given during these procedures to the periorbital, jaw line, and neck areas, the perioral area is sometimes overlooked. There are several telltale signs of perioral aging such as lengthening and sagging of the upper lip, vertical wrinkling of the upper lip, flattening of the philtral columns, deepening of the nasolabial and marionette creases, drooping of the stomions, all contributing to an old, saggy, unhappy look.1 Perioral rejuvenation can consist of lip lifts, corner lifts, excision of nasolabial furrows, lip augmentation and lip enhancement, prosthetic implants to the chin, injectible fillers, and dermabrasion.1-2 Upper lip "purse string" wrinkles are one of the most common complaints of patients seeking perioral rejuvenation. These rhytids can be attenuated with chemical peels, filled with injectible fillers, or flattened via laser resurfacing or derm - abrasion. The former consists of CO2 and Erbium:YAG lasers and the later consists of mechanical and manual dermabrasion.
More recently, the popularity of mechanical motor driven dermabrasion has diminished due to several reasons including its higher degree of difficulty to perform, a lesser margin for errors, and mostly due to the trepidation of coming in contact with aerosolized blood particles. 3-7 Aerosolized tissue and blood particles carrying dreaded viruses such as HIV and HCV/ HBV have been shown to possess the capacity of infecting the surgeon and the OR staff.8
Lately, due to stricter sterilization protocols in many hospitals excluding sterilized sand paper, the possibility of utilizing the electric cautery scratch pad for manual dermabrasion has been explored in an animal model and its abrasiveness has been found to be equivalent to that of sand paper between 60 and 100-grit. 9 In this work we present our experience with manual dermabrasion of the upper lip area during facial rhytidectomy and other facial aesthetic procedures using electric cautery tip cleaning pads.