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Rupture of the Orbicularis Oris in Trumpet Players [Satchmo's Syndrome]


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Planas, J.
Journal Title: ITG Journal
Date Published: Dec-82
Language: English
Category: Orofacial Disorders
Key Words: rupture throat trumpet performance musician plastic surgery
Full Citation: Planas, Jaime, and B. L. Kaye. Rupture of the Orbicularis Oris in Trumpet Players (Satchmo's Syndrome). ITG Journal 7, no. 2 (December 1982): 12-14.
Full Abstract: A patient entered into the care of Dr. Jaime Planas (Barcelona, Spain) with complaints of pain in the lower lip accompanied by an acute drop in range and endurance, as well as a general tremble observed in his trumpet playing. Exploratory surgery revealed a rupture of the orbicularis oris, the major circular muscle of the lips. The muscle fibers in the posterior were stretched but intact. The fibrous band which joined the ends of the ruptured muscle was carefully removed and the ends reconnected and secured with non-absorbable sutures. After nine months, the scar was red, swollen and painful. A small incision was made and turbid liquid was discharged. The sutures were removed. The patient successfully returned to playing in the orchestra. Other symptoms of a rupture in the orbicularis oris include bleeding crevices and fissures in the lips, as in the case of Louis Armstrong (Satchmo), who stopped playing the trumpet entirely for one year in 1935. Trumpet players experiencing a rupture in the orbicularis oris are advised to: stop playing for many months, try using a smaller, shallower mouthpiece and/or a wider rim, restrict playing to the lower register- all of which are typically unacceptable to trumpet players.