The patient is a woman who sustained a full thickness / full height lip laceration. This is a multi-layered repair, but was appropriately completed with the patient awake under a local anesthetic in the emergency department. Key points are to repair the muscle layer that circles the mouth so that the lip functions well (you don’t want to dribble your soup, after all ) and to align the lip border where even small problems may be visible. The post operative view is 6 months post injury.
The vast majority of lacerations, including ones on the face, may be repaired by an Emergency Room Physician with excellent results. ER docs will call a Plastic Surgeon, Head and Neck Surgeon, or Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon for assistance when the repair is particularly complex. Sometimes a little advice or follow up is all that is necessary, but sometimes repair by a surgeon is required.
Mark D. Wigod, MD, FACS, providing Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to Boise, Meridian, Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho.