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 (134 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    Dear me... CNN is so worried about ANYTHING being spun against Obama that they pre-emptively come out with these ridiculous articles to ensure no one makes anything of it. This is hardly news, relax CNN... Obama is fine.

    November 26, 2010 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt Dizzle

      You should probably tell everyone to relax, Andrew. Its every news station, not just CNN. In my opinion, thats why people are so against him, its not his policies, its the fact that the news media always reports his policies wront!

      November 26, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
    • Captain Jones

      Nothing new, they used to report Bush's hangnails 😛

      November 27, 2010 at 02:31 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Was Biden ready to assume command?

      November 27, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • hook

      yawn, whats next an article on breathing?? Pres. Obama inhaled deeply this afternoon during his speech....according to Dr. Rtard breathing is a natural process which aides in respiration. It uses oxygen as an electron carrier in the creation of ATP to form C2O

      November 27, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • reACT

      Was Biden ready to assume command? Heck, he was "in charge".

      November 27, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • M.

      What is so ridiculous about this article? Every time a US president went even for a check up the public has been informed. The health of the president is important no matter WHO the president is.

      November 27, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
    • Candid One

      Ahhhhhh, so many double standards, so little time!

      November 28, 2010 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • ted arndt

      Money Well Spent, A well deserved split lip bought and paid for by american public. Perhaps now he will speak like that kid on the old cosby cartoons. Insane folks like him are humiliated when things like this happen, go figure

      November 29, 2010 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
  2. APatriot1

    And a year ago, Tiger had a minor accident after Thanksgiving. Coincidence? These cover stories have a way of unraveling fast..

    November 26, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MCinCT

      So you think Michelle clocked him? I think he would be worse off than that if she got him.
      I got the same injury. Hopefully this will help him keep his mouth shut and the country will rebound alittle.

      November 26, 2010 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
  3. Generics

    Wow, CNN, you really set the bar when it comes to news don't you?

    On the verge of war with North Korea, and we get breaking news over a cut lip, and then a pointless as hell article over how lip injuries work. My god, CNN is going down the gutter lately.

    November 26, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • a slozomby

      hey at least this article has factual information and not some random hearsay or BS op-ed fluff.

      November 26, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • alaskan1st

      You want news of North Korea in your health news articles?????

      November 26, 2010 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      Personally, I'd rather have a little lighter news now and then to break up the doom and gloom. To each his own, I guess.

      November 27, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  4. dave

    bill S.510 to be voted on december 14 . the bill makes will make it illegal for americans to grow their own food. they must register with the government, hired army of inspectors will evaluate your crops. feeling more free? violation of 4rth amendment for unlawful searches (TSA) . more troops in iraq, more debt due to bail outs, a world trade center mosque.
    we are change slogan was a deception.

    November 26, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charles

      You're silly, but I bet Glenn Beck is proud that his wild delusions have taken root in the more gullible parts of America.

      November 26, 2010 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • BD70

      Did you even read the bill? Or did you just read the fear monger articles and listen to Fuax News...

      November 26, 2010 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
    • GoldenBullet

      this is truth about having a tomato garden in my back yard...is that within the parameters of such a law?

      November 27, 2010 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Tweety

      Yep, sounds like you feel for an old internet hoax. Check out snopes about your bill s510

      November 28, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • Pat in IL

      I hope you know that is nuts. Read the bill first, then comment.

      November 28, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
  5. dukeameye

    I thought Obama got that fat lip Nov. 2nd? lol

    November 26, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rooster


      November 26, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • Peezy

      Okay, I'm as liberal as they get, but this was freakin' hilarious hahaha

      November 27, 2010 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
  6. Average Reader

    Dear me, is there anything RWers will not whine about?

    November 26, 2010 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • b

      Is there anything that the left wingers won't blame on someone else? No.

      November 26, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Stop whining b.

      November 27, 2010 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • chele


      November 27, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
  7. Nice Lady in Cali

    Well, I care about what happens to my president. I'm glad he's o.k. He's so stoic and angelic. I almost feel so sad. I'm sure he brushed it off, but his aids wanted to make sure he'd be o.k. President Obama, we love you, and we support you. God bless you. God bless America.

    November 26, 2010 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      Hey Cali...stoic and angelic just don't CUT IT in this dog eat dog world we are ALL living in today!

      November 27, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
  8. BD70

    Get well quick Prez! Work to do!

    November 26, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Iowa Steve

      Yep, get well quick – the guys on the court miss you... And there might be warm weather to golf in somewhere you can fly Airforce One to...

      November 27, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      The guy is allowed some free time Iowa Steve. Bush did it. Obama does it.

      November 27, 2010 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Personally, I want my president to take time to do things like play some basketball. Otherwise the stress of his job could get to him, which is not only a problem for his health but also a problem for his job performance, which I think we can all agree is pretty important. So, no, I will not be complaining about him playing basketball or golf once in a while, both because I realize it helps relieve stress and also because I don't complain about everything he does in the first place.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  9. CNN and their Racist Agenda

    People with brains can always see through the bias agenda of CNN. Let's report a story about our half-black President playing BASKETBALL. Show a random BLACK secret serviceman in the picture, and quote a doctor from DETROIT. HEY MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is half black ok? Get it right. He is biracial. Why is it that the media has NO BALLS to admit that there are MILLIONS of biracial and multiracial people in this country? Stop pawning him off as full black. HE . IS. NOT.

    November 26, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      look...even Jessie Johnson proclaimed in his famous oratorical tongue that "OZOMBA is NOT BLACKQUE enough!!!"

      November 27, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • pramus

      finally, I am not the only one who gets it.....what 's with this "african-american" crap?? Obama is half WHITE. Face it, nobody wins

      November 27, 2010 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  10. Cag

    I don't understand the point of most of the comments posted here. This has nothing to do with racial agendas, politics, caring about the president, house bills or Korea. It is a health article about a common injury a lot of people receive (including me). Many health articles have famous people as the lead in. That is what this article is folks, nothing more, nothing less. CNN DOES do articles on health. Judging from many of the comments posted in this column CNN needs to do an article on mental health also.

    November 26, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • alaskan1st

      Right on..........

      November 26, 2010 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Cag, if I could "like" your post, I would. Excellent points.

      November 27, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      Agreed, Cag. From a good number of the comments posted here today the glow of Thanksgiving didn't last long enough. Or somebody didn't get any deals on Black Friday (and that is not a racial remark, folks).

      November 27, 2010 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • psyborg

      Excellent points Cag. I think however, the CNN moderator who approves the comments needs a mental health checkup as well.
      Why does he/she/it approve messages that are out of context?

      November 29, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  11. R

    Bush chokes on a pretzel while watching football and Obama gets a fat lip while playing basketball. No one is safe.

    November 26, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      meanwhile the whole country is shopping and getting robbed while doing that and about 20 other countries are at war and two with nukes are sitting on the button waiting for it to get pushed...pretty insane planet here at the holidays...YA???

      November 27, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • chele

      Nope, nobody issafe! It's a dangerous world.

      November 27, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  12. Johnathan

    Cag, you are pretty much right on. People should know by now that the media will report on anything. I ended up here because I heard about this from several radio stations, then found about every major media site reporting on it. This has nothing to do with bias. It's even posted in health, I doubt they intended for this to be a major article. They are just trying to be thorough, if every other media site has the article they will most likely too.

    Anyways, not that its a big deal, but I wish Obama the best and hope he heals quickly.

    November 27, 2010 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Johnathan

    Cag, you are pretty much right on. People should know by now that the media will report on anything. I ended up here because I heard about this from several radio stations, then found that just about every major media site reporting on it. This has nothing to do with bias. It's even posted in health, I doubt they intended for this to be a major article. They are just trying to be thorough, if every other media site has the article they will most likely too.

    Anyways, not that its a big deal, but I wish Obama the best and hope he heals quickly.

    November 27, 2010 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      If CNN wanted to mature on its news reporting and in turn help the president and the WORLD to cut back on nonsense and other mayhem that is happening. they should report news stories that promote world advancement...let this dumb world in on some information that might help develop future prosperity...Right now we are pretty much stagnant unless one counts improvments in cellphones as nationally important advancement. Grow up CNN! You certainly need to do that!

      November 27, 2010 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      Having a bad day, GoldenBullet?

      November 27, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • psyborg

      GoldenBullet...here's a candybar...enjoy.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
  14. steph

    I read this same story on http://HeSaySheSay.info but it was a little different and said the cut was not visible because it is on the inside of his lip.

    November 27, 2010 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. kimbenet

    Very true that major brands do give out samples on their products, search online for "123 Get Samples" we just got ours today. You wont need CC.

    November 27, 2010 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply


    November 27, 2010 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. gmh

    This article was and FYI about injuries related to the mouth and lips. That's All Folks!

    November 27, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. GoldenBullet

    Just how many juvenile teenage adolescent presidents in the past have been elbowed by a Latino while throwing balls through holes? Playing horse and other kids games should be left up to teenagers...not grown men in charge of countries especially when those countries are going down the drain!

    November 27, 2010 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howzatnow

      You'd rather he was so sedentary and riddled with infirmity from past days of drugging and drinking that he should choke on a pretzel and nearly die sitting on the couch like the last dude?

      November 27, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
  19. These nuts

    Is it wrong for a guy to qweef?

    November 27, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      My wife qweefed last night...I bet Michell does it to...so what...whould CNN report that too?

      November 27, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
  20. JGR

    When President Carter had hemorrhoids when he was in the White House, the Navy doctor treating him was a REAR admiral...my Dad couldn't stop laughing when he heard that! Best wishes to our former President and his family.

    November 27, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Dinak

    This is so funny – the media are so desperate to not allow Obama to seem like a clumsy goof, they have to print this obvious article about how "common" Obama's lip injury is. We all know that it is, but because most CNN personnel have never played a sport and are used to mocking conservative presidents for their physical injuries, they had to circle around and do something to protect the president from some fear of a public backlash of mockery. I don't know any conservative who is joking about the president's lip – but since Libs do this sort of mocking all the time, they assume everyone does.

    November 27, 2010 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. agw

    The article is a heath article, yet because it's about Obama, many of you shamefully jump on your NO train, ranting about your twisted misconceptions of America and the world. If you're so concerned about the state of things, get off your computers and do something about it! Or, are you too busy sucking up SS, MediCare and VA benefits, all the while being Teed off and want less government spending. You're a bunch of hateful hypocrites, gun-slinging racists and fear-mongering morons! This is how history will comment about you, your "party" and your actions. Grow up and move on, or MOVE OUT!

    November 27, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. agw

    And to the person with the Q&A "joke" above, I hope you're arrested and permanently jailed before you incite further violence against women. You're a disgrace!

    November 27, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. meh

    Let's bomb the moon.

    November 27, 2010 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GoldenBullet

      let's bomb the frickin' Universe!!!

      November 27, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
  25. TAnn

    The level of disrespect for our president and first lady is appalling! All the angry people need thearpy and need to chill! If we as Americans work as hard at putting positive energy into the atmosphere as some people do at spreading anger and hate, our country is more likely to make progress! The US is not doomed to fail: We are a nation that the Preamble says was built for the
    people, by the people, and, of the people! We the people are the change that President Obama spoke of in his vision for our country! I pray daily for our President and his family and wish them nothing but good! I've practiced this during previous administrations also! I pray that the wounds created by haters will dissipate and that those who understand have the capacity to love their neighbor as they love themselves will actually do so and begin to speak loudly and often to drown out the haters!
    Peace on earth and good will toward all!
    TAnn in TN

    November 27, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • agw

      Thanks for politely saying what I was trying to say above.

      November 27, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Dinak

      There's no way that you felt the same way about the previous administration – because if you did, you would know that Obama is bad for the U.S. and wishes it ill-will and failure.

      November 27, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  26. oh please

    did this deserve such a lengthy article with the whole plastic surgeon info? This is a common "thing" that happens the same as applying pressure to the brakes in your car when coming to a stop- it happens all the time to countless people every day....

    Really? Plastic surgeon info and all that? Why overwrite a one sentence statement? "The president split his lip today while playing basketball , a game known for quick hand and foot movements in close quarters and is expected to be fine." END OF STORY......shesh

    November 27, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. andybud

    Why is this news?

    You feel the need to reassure us that lots of people get split lips? What next, that lots of us get skinned knees too?

    What's that? You say that the President goes poo?


    November 27, 2010 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. STEVE

    As my father ( and coach ) used to say...."Rub some dirt in it and get back in the game"

    November 27, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Paul

    Our child president has a booboo.

    November 27, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sarge

    This may be the silliest, most worthless story I've seen in a long time, even for CNN. Yes, people split their lips. They also get cancer, ALS, MS and a host of medical situations actually worth writing about.

    November 27, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. sammy zoso

    I'd rather read about the president and his basketball miscue than about Sarah For Dummies Palin. Talk about media obsession! The woman is a moron, has no business thinking about being in elected office of any kind and every time she or one of her kids farts it's news. Christ!

    November 27, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. ryan

    you people will argue about anything.

    November 27, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. gemela

    Our President is doing everything to help everybody in the United states but there are always a jealous opposition that he can never please. I think he save this country not to become a third world . ......Big corporations GREED sabotage his Administration. The reason why Sarah Palin left her work as a governor in Alaska is greed instead of serving her people
    Corporation pay her tons of money by making up very, stupid remarks. She thinks there are people not smart enough who could figure out what she is up to.. that is an insult.IS SHE trying to seduce everybody to vote for her by Wink?

    November 27, 2010 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. gemela

    of course it is a news .. everybody should know why he is hurt even if someone just pinch him. He our President !!!!

    November 27, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Name*shaggyspringfield1948@gmail.com

    I wouldn't want to be the friend who hit the President.

    November 27, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Anne S.

    So what? As I read on another website...someone replied " Wonder if it knocked any sense into him."

    November 27, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Allan

    As trivial as this story is, there is no way Obama appears on television with an unexplained split lip, and it becomes a smaller story than this one. The guy who really cracks me up is the guy who appreciates some lighter news to break up the doom and gloom. I sure don't think it's the job of the MSM to moonlight as a pharmacy, which is not to say that there aren't good reasons for some light reporting now and then.

    November 27, 2010 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply


    November 28, 2010 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. m@

    Shut up!

    November 28, 2010 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. mhirst

    Take this seriously, friends. For Obama, a lip injury is real problem; he's really only given lip service to most of the promises he made on the 08 campaign trail.

    November 28, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. powlenn

    All the world A stage...some of us just won't get ne TONYs!

    November 28, 2010 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jesusluver97

    Well u know what people should care about eachother this world has gone ad with anger and selfishness okay i mean in the news all you hear is being hurting or abusing or being mean

    November 28, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply


    November 28, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. gemela

    Seriously , previous Administration allow people to ripped other people regardless ....
    He is for the very rich and don't care about small people because he was born rich and never experience life of being poor.

    November 28, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. gemela

    I mean Bush was for the very rich... they should not pay taxes so they can have more money to brings jobs overseas.
    Other country depends on the United States to be a consumer of big ticket items. If jobs are not created and less earning
    in this country we could not be able to buy to cheap labor products . Do you think cheap labor country could afford to buy????

    November 28, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. lisa

    I think its cool that our President has time to inwind. Basketball is great exercise and he is under a lot of pressure to "fix" the mess that was left for him from our previous president. So if he is injured, there are some people that would like to know about it, even though its only a busted lip! Big props for President Obama:)

    November 28, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. David Di Pirro

    Hey Mr. President. Keep up the good work. Well all counting on you.

    November 28, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. glen

    I don't think its that bad of a lip but a plastic surgery its a bit exstream I think but I think its no big deal its not like he defroem

    November 28, 2010 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Nicholas

    Im sorry does somebody know of something good he did I'm only aware of promises that he hasn't kept . Remember the only time that a politicians lie is when there lips are moving.

    November 28, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Amy

    Why is shocking that our president plays basketball? Every president we've ever had has enjoyed leisure activities. Doesn't anyone remember President Clinton going to McDonalds or President Bush starting wars?

    November 28, 2010 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dinak

      It was Al-Queda that started the war. And by the way, all the Dems supported invading Afghanistan in retaliation. Iraq was a move out of fear of inaction that could prove deadly. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn't invade Iraq. If they had attacked us or a neighboring country, again, then you would have said, "See, he ignored all the warnings and intelligence info AGAIN!" You should be ashamed of yourself.

      November 29, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
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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.