Oral Biopsy Patient FAQ’s

Oral Biopsy North TXTexas Oral Surgery, patient care is our priority. We understand the anxiety that can accompany oral biopsies and know that information significantly reduces patient stress. If you or a loved one requires an oral biopsy, At the questions and answers below may help to alleviate your concerns.

What should I expect?

Depending on your symptoms and what  Drs. Stewart and Michael want to explore, they will choose one of the following procedures.

  • Exfoliative cytology:During this in-office procedure, the doctor gently scrapes cells from the suspicious area and smears the collected tissue onto a glass slide. The sample is then stained with a dye so the cells can be seen under the microscope. This non-invasive procedure is a quick and painless way to check for oral cancer. However, because this method doesn’t detect all types of oral cancer, patients may need to undergo an incisional
  • Incisional biopsy:This is the most common type of biopsy used to check changes in the mouth and throat. In this procedure a small sample of the abnormal tissue is cut out for testing. If Drs. Stewart and Michael can easily access the sample site, this procedure is done in our office using local anesthesia. However, if the suspicious tissue is located deep inside the mouth or throat the biopsy may be performed under general anesthesia in the operating room.
  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: If you have a lump in your neck, your doctor may order an FNA biopsy. During this in-office procedure, the doctor numbs the affected area and uses a very thin needle to draw out fluid or cells from the lump. While FNA is very helpful in diagnosing the cause of a new neck lump or mass, it is often performed after oral or oropharyngeal cancer has been diagnosed to find out if the cancer has spread to a patient’s lymph nodes. This procedure is also used for patients who have undergone cancer treatment to determine if a new neck mass in the treated area is scar tissue or cancer that has returned.

Is it painful?

Understandably, this is one of the most common questions we’re asked. The short answer is that you shouldn’t feel pain during the oral biopsy. You may, however, feel a sharp pinch or pin prick from the needle used to inject the numbing agent or the needle used to take the biopsy. You may also feel some pressure from the instruments used to collect the sample. Depending on where in the mouth or throat the sample was removed, some patients do experience brief minor pain after the anesthesia wears off.

How should I prepare?

In-office oral biopsies generally don’t require any specific preparation. Before your procedure, Drs. Stewart and Michael will review your health history and our team will advise you of any medications to withhold. If you’ll be undergoing general anesthesia, we will provide additional information, such as  how long to fast before the procedure.

What is the recovery process?

While the biopsy site may be sore for several days, Tylenol is usually sufficient to manage the pain. Sometimes the doctor may advise avoiding NSAID’s, such as aspirin, Advil or Aleve, as these may increase the risk of post-operative bleeding.  Any lingering effects should disappear within 10-14 days. Avoid hot, spicy, and/ or abrasive foods post-procedure, which can hinder the healing process, and instead opt for soft, cool foods which will soothe.

At Texas Oral Surgery Group, we value the important role we play in patient care. From your first call and consultation with Drs. Stewart and Michael through the entire treatment process, our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care possible.  If you have specific questions please feel free to contact any of our locations (Denton,Plano, Decatur, Gainesville ) to speak with a team member.

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