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Repair lip, full thickness; up to half vertical height

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Repair of Lip, Full Thickness; Up to Half Vertical Height


This surgical procedure involves repairing a full-thickness tear or defect in the lip, addressing damage that extends through both the outer (mucosal) and inner (muscular) layers. The repair only involves up to half of the vertical height of the lip.


The procedure aims to address issues such as traumatic injuries, congenital defects, or surgical excisions that result in a full-thickness defect in the lip. The goal is to restore the normal appearance and function of the lip, including speech and eating.


  • Traumatic injuries causing full-thickness lip tears or lacerations.
  • Congenital conditions like cleft lip.
  • Defects resulting from surgical excision of tumors or lesions.

    Patients with significant full-thickness damage to the lip that affects less than half of its vertical height are typical candidates.


  • Patients may be required to fast for a specified period before the procedure.
  • Preoperative assessments may include physical examinations, imaging studies, and laboratory tests.
  • Medication adjustments, such as discontinuing blood thinners, may be necessary.

Procedure Description

  1. Anesthesia: Local or general anesthesia is administered.
  2. Incision and Debridement: The surgeon makes a precise incision around the defect edges, removing damaged or non-viable tissue.
  3. Tissue Alignment: The edges of the lip defect are aligned carefully.
  4. Suturing: Sutures are placed in layers, beginning with the inner muscular layer and followed by the mucosal layer, to ensure proper healing and minimal scarring.

    Specialized surgical instruments, including scalpels, forceps, and suturing material, are used throughout the procedure.


The procedure typically takes 1-2 hours, depending on the extent of the repair needed.


Performed in a hospital's operating room, surgical center, or outpatient clinic.


  • A board-certified plastic or oral surgeon.
  • An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.
  • Surgical nurses and assistants.

Risks and Complications

  • Infection at the surgical site.
  • Bleeding and hematoma formation.
  • Scarring or asymmetry.
  • Nerve damage resulting in changes in sensation or movement.
  • Poor wound healing resulting in a need for additional surgery.


  • Restores lip function, enhancing the ability to speak and eat.
  • Improves aesthetic appearance.
  • Long-term benefits are often visible within weeks as healing progresses.


  • Instructions on wound care including keeping the area clean and dry.
  • Pain management with prescribed medications.
  • Dietary modifications to avoid trauma to the repaired area.
  • Avoidance of strenuous activity for a few weeks.
  • Follow-up appointments to monitor healing progress.

Recovery typically takes 1-2 weeks for initial healing, with complete recovery and final results visible within a few months.


  • Non-surgical management with wound care (less effective for significant defects).
  • Tissue grafts from other areas (used in larger defects).

Each alternative has pros and cons, such as varying healing times and potential complications, that should be discussed with the healthcare provider.

Patient Experience

  • Patients may feel minor discomfort during the procedure with local anesthesia or be completely unaware under general anesthesia.
  • Post-procedure, there might be swelling, bruising, and moderate discomfort.
  • Pain management includes prescribed analgesics and cold compresses to minimize swelling and discomfort.
  • Instructions for managing sutures and preventing infection are provided for recovery at home.

Medical Policies and Guidelines for Repair lip, full thickness; up to half vertical height

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