Medical Q&As

Surgery on tongue - still bleeding?

My mum has just had a lump removed from the tip of her tongue. The doctor said it was just a precaution but itís the after effects that worry us. She got three stitches of which one fell out the day after she got them (one week ago) and the second fell out two days ago. Her tongue is bleeding fairly frequently, and is extremely sore, so she's not eating. The local GP said that the tongue was one of the most sensitive part of your body and she would basically just have to suffer it out. But we're worried. My mum never complains or moans. The only reason itís coming to our attention at all is because it bleeds. Should this be happening at all? Is there anything we can do to help with the pain? What foods should she be eating? Should the stitches have fallen out this early?

It is not unusual for stitches in the tongue to fall out. The tongue is soft and fleshy and it is very easy for the suture material to pull through the tissues and work its way loose. You say that your motherís tongue is still bleeding a week after the removal of the lump, which raises the possibility that the area may be infected. It would be a good idea for her to visit her GP to have the area looked at and if infection is present an antibiotic can be prescribed to deal with that. Paracetamol should be sufficient to deal with the pain but if she has tried that and not found it adequate then a stronger painkiller can be prescribed for her. Sheís not really going to be able to eat regular meals for a little while but it is important for her to drink plenty of liquids. She should avoid any fizzy drinks or citrus juices, which would only cause further soreness. Soft food such as scrambled egg and mashed potato would be more comfortable for her to eat and she might also like cold foods from the fridge such as yoghurt. Soups are highly nutritious but just be careful to let them cool down a little. Her tongue might look awful at present but lesions in the mouth tend to heal very well. You should see a good improvement in her overall condition within the next week and I expect that she will be back to relatively normal eating and drinking at that stage.