A laceration is a wound that is usually irregular in shape and has jagged margins, which is produced by tearing of the soft body tissues. A laceration often tends to be contaminated with debris and bacteria by the object that caused the laceration. A cut is a wound that breaks the skin due to the trauma from a sharp object. Lacerations are deeper and more irregular in shape that causes more bruising and bleeding.
The tongue is a muscular organ in the oral cavity and is essential for several important functions, such as taste, movement of food, swallowing, and speech production.
Most tongue lacerations do not require sutures (stitches), and they usually heal in a few days without much intervention because the tongue has a rich blood supply. Simple lacerations, especially if it is centrally located on the tongue, usually heal well with minimal risk of infection. Some injuries of the tongue may require immediate medical attention and surgical treatment. Major injuries of the tongue can cause severe bleeding and swelling, affecting speech, swallowing, and breathing.
When do tongue lacerations need stitching?
Following injuries of the tongue require surgical repair:
- Bisecting wounds
- Persistent bleeding of the wound
- Large flaps
- Wounds to the tip of the tongue
- Wounds with a large gap
- Wounds larger than 1-2 cm
- U-shaped lacerations
- Avulsion or amputation of the tongue
What causes tongue lacerations?
Some common causes of tongue lacerations are as follows:
How is the tongue surgically repaired?
Major injuries of the tongue may require emergency medical care and surgical intervention. Major injuries of the tongue can cause severe bleeding and swelling, affecting speech, swallowing, and breathing.
The patient is first given sedation and numbing medicine, after which the surgeon carefully inspects the wound.
The surgeon would also check for other oral cavity injuries, chipped, or missing teeth. Tooth fragments may be lodged inside the wound. If not removed, it can lead to infection. The surgeon will consider obtaining radiographic imaging to locate missing tooth fragments. The wound may be contaminated with bacteria and debris and hence would be thoroughly cleaned by the surgeon. The tongue is stabilized. The lacerations are usually closed in one, two, or three layers. Suturing the muscular layer of the tongue can control bleeding sufficiently, and the function of the tongue is restored. The superficial mucosal layers of the tongue usually heal rapidly.
Painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications, and antibiotics are usually administered.
The patient is advised cold, icy foods in the first one to two days, such as ice cream, cold milkshakes, cold water, or sucking on ice cubes.
The patient would be advised to gargle with hydrogen peroxide or chlorohexidine diluted with water.
Healing occurs very rapidly, usually within a week.
What are the complications following surgical tongue repair?
Complications can include the following:
- Difficulty in speech
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
- Blockage of the airway
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Do Tongue Lacerations Need Stitches? Related Articles
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Do Tongue Scrapers Damage Taste Buds?Tongue scraping is a process where you drag a tool from the back of your tongue to the front to remove small particles and bacteria. Tongue scrapers can benefit your health and help you get that squeaky clean feel, but they can also damage your taste buds if you’re not careful.
Fun Facts About Your TongueIs your tongue the strongest muscle in the body? Can you see your taste buds? How long is the average tongue? Learn fun facts about your tongue and taste buds!
How Do You Get Rid of Bumps on the Back of Your Tongue?Bumps on your tongue can be caused by a number of factors. Find out what can cause these bumps and how you can treat them.
StitchesStitches or sutures are used to close skin wounds. After the wound is examined and cleaned, the health care provider assesses the wound to decide how to repair the wound. Dissolvable stitches may be used if deep sutures are necessary. Nylon and polypropylene are the main choices of suture material. The length of time stitches must remain in place depends upon the location of the wound and how much stress is placed on the wound.
Tongue PictureThe tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth. See a picture of the Tongue and learn more about the health topic.
Tongue ProblemsThere are a variety of diseases and conditions that can cause tongue problems, discoloration, and soreness. Though most tongue problems are not serious. Conditions such as leukoplakia, oral thrush, and oral lichen planus may cause a white tongue while Kawasaki syndrome, scarlet fever, and geographic tongue may cause the tongue to appear red. A black hairy tongue may be caused by overgrown papillae on the tongue. Canker sores, smoking, and trauma may cause soreness of the tongue.