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November 26th, 2010
04:08 PM ET

Split lip an injury known to many

The injury President Obama suffered Friday in a basketball game at the White House is well known to many of us.

Dr. Tony Youn, a board certified plastic surgeon in Detroit, Michigan, said it’s the most common injury call he gets from the emergency room - someone gets smacked in the face and ends up with a cut lip. It usually happens when a tooth punctures  the lip.

“The lips are very sensitive to trauma and swell up quickly, more than any parts of the body,” he said.  “When you get popped in the jaw, you don’t get a fat chin, you get a fat lip.  The lips are so reactive.”

The lips are made of mucosa, the moist tissue that makes them fragile (especially to a flying elbow).

White House aides told CNN that Obama was given a local anesthetic while receiving the stitches and doctors used a smaller suture thread, or filament. That increases the number of stitches needed to patch up the tear, but it makes a tighter stitch so that the president's scar on his lower lip should be smaller.

Dr. Laurie Casas, a clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago Pritzer School of Medicine, said that 12 stitches aren’t a lot, since each stitch can be as small as two to three millimeters.

A deeper injury penetrating the muscle layer in the lip would require a more complicated stitch called a buried stitch, she added.  Depending on whether the stitches are on the outer layer of the lip or deeper into the muscle, the stitches could be left in from five to 14 days. Stitches in the muscle layer of the lip would typically dissolve.

The key for the plastic surgeon is that “you reconstruct the border of the lips called the vermillion border,” Casas said.  That needs to be lined up first, so you don’t distort that border.”

If they’re not lined perfectly, you could see a “cosmetic deformity,” said Dr. Marc Yune, a certified facial plastic surgeon in the greater Atlanta area.

Obama can expect swelling and bruising for a couple weeks.  And he, like many others with a severe lip lacerations may be told to stay on a liquid diet or avoid crunchy foods, to prevent a potato chip from slicing through the wound.


soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Hubert Davis

    I wish I was playing ball with Barry, he would have gotten more than just a split lip. I can guarantee you that !

    November 28, 2010 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. joe

    People in the whitehouse are saying its crowded in there but yet it has bowling alleys n bb courts...hmmm where are the prioritiesio

    November 28, 2010 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. mrskitty

    It is so funny that all anyone can do is complain. Obama is this or that or he did this or that or is not living up to what he has promised. Who in this world does? If your all so unhappy and can do a better job than lets see you get elected and run the country! Untill then shut the f@#k up!

    November 28, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ted arndt

      mrsputtytat, I would think that anyone on this page with the exception of you would be more qualified that he, And since you like the F work, Do you have the slightest FN idea how he was elected, funded by, with the intention of? mk? I would venture to guess that you would never have overlooked his shocking past if a man with this backround wanted to date you? You wouldnt let a man like that in your house would you, or even to look at your children? And yet you made the decision to make him the leader of our once independant nation? Dumb beeatch, keep your comments to yourself.

      November 29, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
  4. Eddie Bailey

    I'm impressed with the number of MATURE comments. All yall other hillbillies need to reminise about the other guy from TEXAS that used to pass out and soil the carpeting in the oval office. Or how about the guy who's cheeks sagged inch's below his chin while he chided us about kicking him around no more.was I the only one that noticed he slid his feet across the tarmac without lifting them.Pretty tricky stunt.I think Pres. Obama is along three other HONEST OR CARING leaders of the last half century.JFK had his issues but I believe he really cared about US.Pres. Ford was a good man with a MEAN golf club. Pres Carter was bprn a saint and simply should be knighted or whatever BEFORE he leaves us.Pres Obama is a MOSIAC of past decent men and with support from the rank and file he may surprise yall.The Limbaugh/Hannity fear mongers need a serious a** kicking. I'm not screaming viva Obama but he is more of a man fhan 90% of the republicans I know.enough,don't divide what's left of this Ragged counyry!

    November 29, 2010 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Eddie Bailey

    I'm impressed with the number of MATURE comments. All yall other hillbillies need to reminise about the other guy from TEXAS that used to pass out and soil the carpeting in the oval office. Or how about the guy who's cheeks sagged inch's below his chin while he chided us about kicking him around no more.was I the only one that noticed he slid his feet across the tarmac without lifting them.Pretty tricky stunt.I think Pres. Obama is along three other HONEST OR CARING leaders of the last half century.JFK had his issues but I believe he really cared about US.Pres. Ford was a good man with a MEAN golf club. Pres Carter was born a saint and simply should be knighted or whatever BEFORE he leaves us.Pres Obama is a MOSIAC of past decent men and with support from the rank and file he may surprise yall.The Limbaugh/Hannity fear mongers need a serious a** kicking. I'm not screaming viva Obama but he is more of a man fhan 90% of the republicans I know.enough,don't divide what's left of this Ragged counyry!

    November 29, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. gemela

    It is very true President Obama is very CARING and HONEST person.

    November 29, 2010 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. psyborg

    I'm reporting your message as abuse.

    November 29, 2010 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. C-Span rules

    another mind-numbing article!

    November 29, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. evol1

    For all those who post the negative stuff and complaining about what the president is doing wrong and wishing he fails at fixing the problem he inherit, I think all of you are part of the group along those others in washington who seems to possess a one word vocabulary! Those guys who mess the country up, and now that this cool. Calm and intelligent man is doing his best to get america moving in a direction that will make the country and the world a much nicer place! All the help he is getting is hate filled complains and NO! you guys are to be blamed along with the previous administration for the mess this country is in at the moment! Instead of all that useless running of the mouth, take some time and honest look and am sure you will see that he has indeed done much for the USA in the short time he has been on the job, he will go down as one of the best POTUs regardless of all the haters who even want to harm him physically!
    You all should be aware that there are many. Myself included who will take up arms to avenge and or protect the Prez from those who hate because the devil reside in there wicked heart! PBO am sorry about the busted lips, but I know you are Lion and a great leader! Your destinty is to make america number one and bring all people to a place of loving and respecting each other regardless of race or financial status! Big up forever, much LuV for you and the entire Family. May Christ continues to watch over you as you Do that which is right for middle class and poor americans and people worldwide!!! Bless,Evol1

    November 29, 2010 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jo

    I am happy that are president is trying to stay active. those of you making fun of him because he got hurt should stop and think about a president who banged his head on a helicopter or fell off his bike. all of this at his own doing. oh don't forget his son was are last president. lol

    November 29, 2010 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ktyl

    @ nice lady in cali. you are retarted. that is all

    November 30, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. brian

    happy holidays. feliz navidad. To God be the glory!!!! The Lord is my shepperd i shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. he leadeth by still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name sake. Ye tho i walk through the shadow of death, i will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and the staff, they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever. amen. The prayer is for every one and anyone esp. Obama nd his fam. peace.

    November 30, 2010 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fjehan

    hopefully the doctor didn't permanently sew his lips together and make him mute. that means we would have to listen to the drivel of joe biden.

    November 30, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. gemela

    If your McCain and Palin won the election it is very scary to think how much worse this country could go down. Stupid and uncaring. We are going back to dark ages were there are Kings and slaves for sure. The very rich who wanted to run for office have there own selfish agenda . to pass the law not to tax the rich people.......

    December 1, 2010 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. gemela

    Why did Sarah Palin took course of journalism her voice sounds TERRIBLE every time she is on TV I have to change channel it is very annoying and non sense topic.

    December 1, 2010 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. gemela

    I think Limbaugh wish that he could be as Fit as our President Obama , very intelligent tall dark and handsome very caring person.

    December 1, 2010 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. gemela

    To the person who mentioned about President Obama's past , WHY it is shocking? just because his Father was black and His Mother was white and left the family when he was very young . it is not his fault ... if you think he was not born here in the U.S. because his father was black and don't believed Hawaii is also one of the State of America, Are you that misinformed ? or being brainwashed ?

    December 1, 2010 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ian

    Hey, guys, news is about hard stories and soft stories. Hard news has a very broad spectrum and includes anything that will interest a lot of people. Obama's split lip, albeit odd, is news. Maybe some people need to go back to high school...

    December 1, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. mommyof4ish

    Ok this is my point of view we r supposed to pray for our president/leaders no mater how much we don't like them but as for likeing what they do; we don't have to! However... I do believe this is the medias fault not obama they are the ones making a big deal out of this not him. But I do believe that if they did not do this then there would be so many more roumers going around than what people have already said like "his wife busted his lip and its a cover up" lol some ppl have nothing else to do other than make stuff up lol! Anyways there's no reason to be arguing about this he busted his lip, they write a few articles about it! Who cares life goes on! Its called freedom of speech!

    December 1, 2010 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. doris

    I think cnn has the rigbt to report on anything they want to. if the president had a heart attack that wouldnt be news either? huh i didnt think so. point is yes president obama has a boo boo on his lip and yes its news worthy because he is the president of these united states or did everybody just forgot that!

    December 1, 2010 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ladamadelanoche

    Well people say 0bama is biracial.Die he born in USA haway wasnt state in the year he born?

    December 1, 2010 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. gemela

    For those brainwashed and misinformed .... HAWAII become the 50TH STATE OF AMERICA ON AUGUST 21 1959
    and President OBAMA was born AUGUST 4, 1961 ... I give this information to certain group of people maybe were not really studying in School or not learning anything at all......or don't care about learning U.S history.!

    December 2, 2010 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. susan pope

    Stop Being rasict all you haters.i know your mad cause t5here ain't another white prez.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. gemela

    Tea party are funded by Corporation Greed .

    December 3, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jay Leno

    slip lip and quickly blamed bush out of habit.....

    December 6, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. gemela

    When some one throw those SHOES to former president Bush I WAS very UPSET. Even though his performance as President was Horrible ! He still needs Respect... and President Obama's Lip Injury is not to making FUN off.

    December 7, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Coral Miga

    Hey, I am thinking of undergoing breast implant surgery. My issue is about going over muscle as I'm very active meaning that I go to the gym. Does anybody have any recommendations? I have not seen the surgeon as I'm still unsure re the operation. Thanks

    http://sadsadssa

    October 26, 2015 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.