Tongue laceration

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  • Secondary to tongue biting
  • Serious injuries can cause hemorrhage and potential airway compromise

Clinical Features

  • Examine for other injuries, missing teeth, embedded foreign bodies

Differential Diagnosis

Tongue diagnoses


  • Do not need primary repair unless >1 cm in length, widely gaping, involving tip / anterior split tongue, or large hemorrhage
    • Use absorbable sutures, chromic gut or vicryl but not fast absorbing
    • Tie 4-5 knots but approximate loosely to allow for swelling
    • Anesthesia of the anterior 2/3 of the tongue is obtained through an inferior alveolar nerve block
    • Chlorhexidine mouth wash to prevent infection

See Also


  • Ud-udin Z and Gull S. Should minor mucosal tongue lacerations be sutured in children? Emerg Med J. 2007 Feb; 24(2): 123–124.
  • Tongue lacerations. A. Patel. BDJ 204, 355 (2008) Published online: 12 April 2008. doi :10.1038/sj.bdj.2008.257.