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.
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:
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 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 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