Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

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TromboneSam
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Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by TromboneSam » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:40 pm

(Sorry if this post isn't in the right category, didn't know where it'd fit.)

So I've had a lump on the inside of my lip for the past few weeks, and while at first I thought I just bit my lip in my sleep or something, it hasn't gone away. In fact it's gotten bigger. It doesn't hurt at all, but pushes my bottom lip out a little bit on the left side, and rests just outside where the mouthpiece lies when I play trombone. If I accidentally bump or bite it, it's more easily irritated than the rest of my lip.

After some self research I think it's what is called a mucocele, which is a benign cyst/tumor that is basically a collection of cells that are saturated with mucus from an inflamed saliva gland. My lip looks like the picture on the left (unexposed, obviously) in the link below.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447343/

Anyway, while sometimes they go away on their own, surgery is often needed for them to go away. As any trombonist, I'm very nervous to have any surgery done around my mouth or lips. Has anyone had anything like this before, was it removed surgically, and what was your overall experience?

P.S. I have good health insurance and regardless will be going to a doctor for their opinion as soon as I'm home, which is in two weeks.
2bobone
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Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by 2bobone » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:01 pm

Sam : Wow ! That's a real bummer !
I have some history to share with you that might help you feel better about the prospects that a surgery might impact your playing career. I counted Robert Isele as a close friend when we played together in The National Symphony Orchestra for 16 years. Bob was still the same phenomenal trombonist that he had been during his earlier years as soloist with The United States Marine Band and told me a story that I found remarkable. It seems that he, too, had developed what he always referred to as a "pea" in his upper lip and it became an impediment to his playing. Naturally, being one of their premiere soloists, the leader of the band arranged for him to see the best doctors available to assess the situation. They all agreed that surgery was really the only course to remove the "pea" but there was a controversy as to whether to cut the lip open in parallel to the musculature or at right angles to it. After that decision was made, [ I don't recall which option was chosen] the surgery was performed. Bob fretted about being able to ever play again and told me that against doctor's orders, he got out his horn and attempted to play long before he was supposed to. He took the opportunity to try playing while his wife, Bette, was out of the house shopping. He said he couldn't get a sound out of the horn other than that of the air rushing through the horn. He thought that that was the end of his playing career, but as he gradually healed and regained strength in his embouchure, he was back to playing "Blue Belles Of Scotland" at his usual "lickety-split" tempo ! I don't know how many more years he stayed with the Marine Band, but I'd estimate he enjoyed another twenty years or so of fine playing.
So --- with the incredible advancements in medical technology, including laser surgery, I'd say you have a great chance of coming through this perhaps even better than you went in. Keep a stiff upper lip ! ---- no pun intended. Bob
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KCinAZ
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Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by KCinAZ » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:20 pm

I had one of these on my lower lip about 18-20 years ago. The location was just on the edge of my embouchure for a lot of different instruments I play. I had surgery to remove it because there was no way I could play with it where it was. As I recall, I wasn't able to play for about 2 weeks, and since then have had no issues with it. I can still tell there is a weird spot in my lip, but it doesn't get in my way and I don't think about it.

I wish you well in your healing.
Doug Elliott
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Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by Doug Elliott » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:28 am

I suggest finding a good plastic surgeon, since they know how to do it without scars.
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King2bPlus
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Location: Howell, NJ

Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by King2bPlus » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:18 pm

I had one cut out on a Monday afternoon. One or two stitches. Played lead in a big band that night. No ill effects.
Ken Jackson
heldenbone
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Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by heldenbone » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:36 pm

I can share that life after surgery to repair a small orbularis tear of the upper lip was a slow comeback. It took several weeks for the swelling to abate, and several more for some resorbable sutures to soften enough to allow careful experimentation. Once cleared by the surgeon to gently resume playing, it felt very much like playing on someone else's face. In addition to the thickness where the repair was "overlapped," there was the issue of re-established balance of the musculature. Several more months of easy progressive fundamentals were needed before I had the confidence to "take it back out in public" again. All is well now. Last weekend was an orchestra concert of all-Bernstein, including Westside Story and Candide vignettes.

Be brave and get it fixed. Allowing a medical issue to deteriorate is almost never the right answer. Best of luck.
Slyde
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Location: New Zealand

Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by Slyde » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:43 pm

Sorry not to have replied on this one earlier. Been waiting on TTF and just found this forum. You may have already sorted the problem but in case anyone is wondering for the future: My day Gig is Plastic Surgery. I do a lot of lip surgery, cleft lip repairs etc etc.
This type of lump is almost certainly a mucocoele as you suggested. They are little collections of mucous and saliva from a blocked minor salivary gland, of which there are dozens in your lip. Often they will burst and resolve, or can be popped by a needle and may resolve, but some recur and need to be surgically removed. In the first instance I would simply pop it and see what happens. If it recurs then it may need to be surgically removed. Because they reside in the mucosa and not the muscle layer of the lip the surgeon should not have to touch the muscle during the procedure. If they do they've gone too deep! it will leave a small scar in the mucosa that will take time to soften up (maybe 6-12 months) but realistically you should be able to safely practice again after about 2-3 weeks and be back to normal in a few months.
Hope it all went well for you
Doug Elliott
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Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:57 pm

Good to know we gave a plastic surgeon member. Where are you?
BassBoneFL
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by BassBoneFL » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:31 pm

I had a mucocoele removed from my lower lip my sophomore year in college. No problem coming back and I've managed to do OK in the 35yrs since.
Slyde
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Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:28 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Anyone have lip surgery before and be able to play since?

Post by Slyde » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:56 am

From New Zealand, cant seem to put it in my profile. :)
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