Lip laceration (cut in the skin)

Skin | Emergency Medicine | Lip laceration (cut in the skin) (Disease)


A laceration is a cut through the skin. When the cut is on the outside of the lip, it may be closed with stitches, tape closure (Steri-Strip) or sometimes Dermabond skin glue. Cuts inside the mouth may be sutured or left open, depending on the size. When stitches are used in the mouth, they are usually the kind that dissolve.

Causes and Risk factors

Lacerations are caused when an object strikes the skin and causes a wound to open. Depending on a variety of characteristics (angle, force, depth, object), some lacerations can be more serious than others, reaching as far as deep tissue and leading to serious bleeding.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Certain small intraoral lacerations may be left open and will heal well without repair. Small puncture lacerations through the lip may not require complete closure; the external portion may be repaired while the intraoral portion is allowed to heal without sutures. Indications for external repair are the same as with any other facial laceration. See the images below for examples of intraoral lacerations. Certain wounds are best closed in consultation with a plastic surgeon.

People with suppressed immune systems (including people with diabetes, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, people who take steroid medications, such as prednisone, patients on dialysis, or people with HIV) are more likely to develop a wound infection and should be seen by a healthcare practitioner. ...