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.