UMEM Educational Pearls

Tongue laceration is a common injury in children - occurring in the setting of falls and seizures. The most common location is the anterior dorsal portion of the tongue. Priorities are to evaluate for airway compromise (swelling, hematoma, bleeding) and retained foreign bodies (teeth fragments, etc). The vast majority of lacerations DO NOT require repair and do well with routine dental hygiene and antiseptic mouth wash. While there is no clear consensus for indications to repair, considerations include uncontrolled bleeding, airway compromise, wounds greater than 2 cm, and wounds that gape while the tongue is still in the mouth. Use large absorbable sutures (like 4-0 chromic gut). Check out this great video from EM:RAP -