What is a Biopsy?
Oral biopsy is a surgical procedure which involves removal of tissue from the mouth for further examination, usually in order to make a diagnosis. There are a number of types of biopsy, including:
– Incisional Biopsy: The most common type of oral biopsy, in which your oral surgeon will remove a small sample of abnormal tissue from the mouth
– Excisional Biopsy: Full removal of a small oral lesion
– Percutaneous Biopsy: Biopsy procedure performed using a needle that is inserted through the skin
– Brush Biopsy: Non-invasive biopsy option in which a tissue sample is gained by rubbing a brush against the suspicious area
A biopsy is typically performed under local anesthetic, but sedation anesthesia may be necessary in some cases if the sample is being taken from a particularly difficult-to-reach part of the mouth.
How do you prepare for a Biopsy?
This procedure generally doesn’t require a great deal of preparation. Any medications you are taking should be discussed with your dentist prior to receiving anesthetic. Do not take any over the counter herbal medications 10 days prior to your procedure.
Your oral surgeon will likely first perform x-ray scans or other diagnostic procedures to identify abnormalities. You may be asked not to eat anything for a few hours prior to the procedure.
Why is a biopsy performed?
An oral biopsy is performed to diagnose the cause of oral abnormalities which may include:
– Bleeding lesions or sores
– Gum ulcers
– Discoloration or abnormal swelling of the gums
– Chronic sore throat
– Difficulty swallowing
– Lumps inside the mouth
Tissue samples are sent to a lab to be examined and tested for signs of cancer or other serious health issues.
What can you expect during an oral biopsy?
Typically, your dentist will begin by using a topical cream or antibacterial rinse to sterilize the area before injecting a local anesthetic. General anesthesia will be used only in situations where the lesion or ulcer is particularly hard to reach, and in the case of a brush biopsy, anesthetic may not be necessary at all. Anesthetic should prevent you from feeling anything while the sample is being taken, and you should let your dentist know if you are feeling any serious pain or discomfort during the biopsy. After the sample is taken, your dentist may use stitches to close the incision and increase the rate of healing.
What is the followup and recovery like for Oral Pathology?
The tissue sample will be sent to a laboratory to be examined by a pathologist, who will inform your doctor if there are any signs of cancer or other abnormalities. If cancer is detected, another biopsy may be performed to verify the results before beginning treatment. Oral pathology may also unearth signs of other health issues which will be diagnosed and treated accordingly.
What are the potential costs?
Because the procedure is two parts, the biopsy itself and the laboratory testing, you will have two statements. One from Beacon Dental and the other from the pathologist.
What are the potential risks for a biopsy?
Complications from oral pathology are quite unusual, but may include excessive bleeding or infection of the biopsy site. You should also inform your doctor if you experience fever symptoms or unusual swelling of the gums following the procedure.
Are there related treatments to a biopsy?
Occasionally, clinician chooses to ‘wait and see’ if the condition changes over time, instead of performing a biopsy.