Aug 24 13 9:32 AM

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I wanted to share my experience with mucoceles and all the crazy things we use to try to fix them in case it can help someone out there.

My mucocele journey started about 9 years ago.  A tiny blister appeared on the inside right of my lower lip.  After probably a week I popped it with a needle and of course it only came back bigger.  My doctor at first said, "Oh you have herpes. Almost everyone has it." But everything I read about herpes didn't seem to apply here.  Whenever it popped it would show right back up in the same exact place.  There was no pain involved, it was just super annoying.

I went to an ENT and he said, "Ah, mucocele! I can cut it out right now if you'd like." Out came the scalpel and he chopped it out.  Put some silver nitrite on it to cauterize and off I went.  My lip swelled up and turned purple like I'd been pistol whipped while it tried to heal from the crap job he did.  When it finally healed and shortly thereafter returned I went back to the ENT who said, "I must have missed some. We'll cut it out again for free." Out came the scalpel and out came the mucocele again... but of course it came back.

Fed up with that doctor I went and visited the head of Otolaryngology at Columbia University Medical Center (I live in NYC). I figured, if anyone would know what to do, this guy would.  He said that since the first two didn't take, he thought our best bet would be micro surgery with a CO2 laser under general anesthesia. Thank goodness I had good insurance at the time.  Interestingly while this one was healing, another popped up in the same spot on the opposite side of my lip. You can't imagine the frustration.  I went back for a followup and asked what do I do now?  The doctor had nothing to offer and looked at me as if asking, "What do you want from me?"

I decided to give it one last go as my insurance carrier had changed and a well known facial plastic surgeon now was covered.  Off I went to his office, and he said, "We'll just cut it out. They usually come back," (first time one of the doctors told me this), "but we just cut it out whenever it pops up."  I will say that this was the best and least complicated surgery of the bunch.  Electric scalpel that cauterized as it cut. It came back.

At this point I'm four surgeries in and I decided to just let go and live with it.  I'd tried the home alum powder thing, the Listerine, the salt and soda, etc etc.  None of it worked. 

Mind you my mucoceles are not the enormous subcutaneous ones you see on Wikipedia.  They're at most 1/4 inch long, very superficial and look like the water blisters.

I still got notices from this forum every now and then and decided to read through a couple one day.  I saw a posting about avoiding Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate and decided it couldn't hurt.  I went to the Rite-Aid, found a toothpaste (Sensodyn ProNamel) and a mouth wash (Biotene).  That was four months ago.  In the past nine years I have never gone more than three weeks without a mucocele.  Since switching toothpastes and mouthwash I have had no mucoceles.  I knock wood constantly everytime I tell someone.  I'm still dubious and half expect one to pop up every morning but so far so good.  After reading a bit about SLS it's kind of insane that it is in any products.  Why on earth would an industrial degreaser be used in toothpaste, body wash, mouth wash, shampoo, even candy.  But I digress.

I hope my novella helps you at the very least see that you're not alone in your constant frustration and desire to just rip your lip off your face.