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

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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.

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.
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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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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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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
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