lip injury

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by utu, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. utu

    utu New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2008
    I am wondering if anyone has seen Dr. Simon McGrail for an injury? More importantly, I am looking for anyone who has recovered from a muscle injury-- He found that my upper lip muscle is stretched and I am trying to recover from this.
     
  2. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Pianissimo User

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    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, Az
    utu,
    I suffered a lip injury during spring semester of '92. Although it took me several years to recover, you need not suffer the same fate. I moved from SoCal and a wealth of teaching knowledge to a school in Az due to scholarships and finances. My teacher decided I needed a different embouchure despite my chops working naturally well. 2 months later, my lips were swollen twice their size and my face felt like a pin cushion!

    I kept trying to play through it which only made things worse. The only reason it took me so long to figure things out was that the internet wasn't a part of my daily life and info was hard to come by. None of the teachers in the area had ever experienced anything like it and were of little consolation.

    Eventually I studied with Ron Stoneback and went through "Braces and Brass" (Braces and Brass - Studies for Trumpet and French Horn for players with braces) a book he co-wrote. It laid the foundation on which I've been building since. I've had my ups and downs since then, but never anything i haven't been able to work through. the important thing right now is to:

    #1) Rest, recover, recuperate...basically take a break from playing and heal. #2) Rebuild your fundamentals; whether it's "Braces & Brass," "Claude Gordon," "Bill Adams," "Caruso," "Stamp," etc. whatever method you pursue will be a smoother transition with an experienced teacher not just a player. #3) Like physical therapy, you're goal is incremental gains, not leaps and bounds overnight. Be patient.

    Best Wishes,
    Dan
     
  3. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Jun 11, 2006
    Ditto to Ron Stoneback and Braces and Brass. He put three girls through braces and trumpet playing so he is the go to man for orthodontics.
     
  4. soulfilet

    soulfilet New Friend

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    Apr 14, 2008
    I too saw Dr. Simon McGrail recently, also for a stretched upper lip muscle. He said it's not so bad that I have to stop playing, though I'm taking a few days off now and then, to give the muscle a chance to heal. I'm practicing more or less the same as usual, only I'm not as ambitious with high range and high volume. Whether I'm practicing or playing a gig, if there's any discomfort I back off.

    I'm doing Simon McGrail's lip exercises.... they're pretty strenuous, I haven't gotten through a set of 10 yet. I won't do them if I have a gig on the same day, too tiring. No doubt they're great for strengthening the chops, so I plan to keep doing them after the stretched muscle clears up.

    Dr. McGrail contributed to the book Broken Embouchures by Lucinda Lewis, including information on a stretched lip muscle. If you Google "Broken Embouchures" you'll find excerpts.

    Years ago McGrail fixed a tear in my upper lip muscle, which happened between the edge of the mouthpiece and the edge of my teeth. I sat on a stool while he did it, and he used a local anesthetic. He made the incision right on the line between the red and the white skin. Then he found the severed muscle strands and joined them with suture which eventually dissolved as the muscle healed. I was playing the horn again after about 6 weeks, and it took a few months of practicing to get back in shape. It didn't feel quite the same, but overall my chops were good. I found flexibility exercises and shakes to be more difficult than before the surgery, so they took longer to get back than other aspects. It's been 6 years and the scar is almost invisible, no one sees it if I don't point it out. When he examined my chops recently, he said my upper lip (orbicularis oris) was in great shape, other than the stretched part, which is on the bottom side of the lip where it vibrates against the lower lip.

    J. Simon McGrail, the guru of injured brass players, is the only plastic surgeon I know of who does surgery on lip injuries. He's also famous for working with vocalists. For anyone who needs to see Dr. McGrail, he's still practicing in Toronto Canada. His new clinic is at 658 Danforth Ave, #102, Toronto ON, M4J 5B9, 647-428-7088.

    Apparently he's one of a kind, which is unfortunate. Years ago there was Dr. Planas in Spain, who was apparently the first one to operate on a brass player's lip, and it was apparently successful. He called the condition Sachmo's Syndrome. The Planas Clinic is still in Barcelona, but Dr. Planas is no longer alive, so I don't know if anyone there does the procedure. Their website is in Spanish, but there's a full description of his first patient here in English:

    <http://www.clinicaplanas.com/fundacion/articulos/articulo8/articulo8.htm>

    Besides McGrail, has anybody heard of anyone else, anywhere, who does reconstructive surgery on injured chops?

    By the way utu, how is your stretched lip doing now?
     
  5. utu

    utu New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2008
    So you stretched the lip after recovering from the surgery? How long will you have to continue doing these exercises?
    (I PM'd you as well)
     
  6. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Mar 21, 2006
    Toronto
    I saw my doctor on friday about my lip problems (varicose vein and tumor) and I got a referral to go see Dr. McGrail. I just have to set up an appointment.
     
  7. utu

    utu New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2008
    what is a varicose vein?
     
  8. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Mar 21, 2006
    Toronto
  9. soulfilet

    soulfilet New Friend

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    Apr 14, 2008
    "How long theSo you stretched the lip after recovering from the surgery? How long will you have to continue doing these exercises?"

    That's what I'd like to know, I'll ask McGrail next time I see him. I don't think the stretch had anything to do with the surgery, which was 6 years ago. I think I just had a busy month, with a few days with double gigs.

    I'm interested in trying stuff that body builders use. I've been taking extra protein from egg whites, especially after playing. I asked McGrail about that, and he said he didn't know if protein works or not, but that I'd definitely get results from steroids. I'd need to find a sports doctor who's familiar with how to mix the stuff right.
     
  10. utu

    utu New Friend

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    Mar 6, 2008
    Brekelefuw-
    How did you know you had a problem with a varicose vein? Was it visable?
     

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