Due to concerns about oral cancer and other pathology, patients are often referred to an oral surgeon for evaluation of lesions or pathology found in the oral cavity. Your dentist or physician may refer you to have an oral biopsy if there any changes are found in the soft tissue or bone of your oral cavity that may warrant further evaluation.
These changes are often benign, but an oral biopsy is sometimes the only method to obtain an accurate diagnosis for any spot or growth which may be suspicious for oral cancer, malignancy or other concerning lesion.
Oral Biopsy Procedure
Not all patients who are referred for an oral biopsy will require one, but this decision will be made during your consultation with your doctor. At that time, your health history and medications will be reviewed, and your mouth will be examined for oral lesions. If a biopsy is recommended, your doctor will describe the treatment options as well as the risks, benefits and complications.
Oral biopsies are generally done with local anesthesia (Novocaine). After the area is numb, your doctor will either remove the oral lesion or take a small sample of tissue. This is generally based on the size and location of the area in question. Following removal, stitches will be placed in the area.
Pain After a Biopsy
You may have some postoperative bleeding, but this is usually minimal. Postoperative discomfort may occur and is usually well controlled with over the counter pain relievers or a prescription if warranted by your doctor. You can eat and drink normally after most oral biopsies, but you may find that some foods irritate the area and those should be avoided.
You will be scheduled for a postoperative visit 1-2 weeks following the biopsy of oral tissue. At that appointment, your doctor will examine the area to assess healing and the results of the oral biopsy will be reviewed.