Las Vegas Plastic Surgery: Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey J. Roth
Las Vegas Plastic Surgery


Lip Laceration Repair from a Plastic Surgeon’s Perspective

During a harmless basketball game over the Thanksgiving holiday the President received a minor cut on his lower lip. The player President Obama was guarding, Rey Decerega, who is the Director of Programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, moved his elbow to take a shot and struck President Obama in the mouth. The wayward elbow caused the President to sustain a laceration to his lower lip. After the injury he was seen leaving the gym with gauze over the wound. The laceration was sutured in the medical area on the first floor of the White House. It is reported that 12 small stitches were used to close the wound. Following the stitches, President Obama was seen through a White House window with an ice pack on his mouth. Two days later, he was back on the basketball court shooting around with his daughters.

Minor cuts or lacerations to the lips are very common injuries. Lips are a prominent facial feature and many men and women who sustain lip injuries seek treatment from a plastic surgeon in order to reduce visible signs of scarring. As a board certified plastic surgeon in Las Vegas, I’d like to share my experience with the general principles of lip laceration repair. In order to perform the successful cosmetic repair of a lip injury, the first step is to take a good history of how the injury occurred.  Next, the plastic surgeon will conduct a good physical exam and note how deep is the wound, if it is infected, and look for other notable things.  Finally, the physician will put things back together by repairing the laceration or wound. This surgery process is done in multiple layers, usually working from the deep tissue layers out. This may include stitches inside the mouth. As with all wounds, one wants to join the appropriate layer with the same appropriate layer, such as torn muscle with muscle or mucosa to mucosa. Deep layer stitching keeps tension off of the top layer of the wound. This usually results in a scar that is less defined and noticeable.

A major point in repairing lip lacerations is the line up the vermillion border, which is where the mucosa meets the skin. If this is off a millimeter or two it can often be noticed. President Obama’s laceration was in the mucosa of the lower lip, so this was not an issue.

Aftercare of lip repair surgery includes ice and elevation to reduce swelling and pain.

No matter what side of the political aisle you may prefer, I think we can all agree on wishing the President a speedy recovery and remind him to watch out when is playing defense on the basketball court.

Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Las Vegas Plastic Surgery

(702) 450-0777


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