What is a Biopsy?

A biopsy is often recommended following a
consultation on the clinic.

It is a simple procedure that provides tissue for the
histopathologists to discover the presence, cause or
extent of a disease.

The procedure is carried out under local anæsthetic, that is,
you will be awake and have an injection to numb up the
tissue in question.  You will have stitches at the biopsy site
that dissolve over the next 10 – 14 days.  You can expect
some discomfort and possibly swelling afterwards.  These
will settle over the next few days.

The whole process should take less than 30 minutes.

There are two types of biopsy:

Excisional Biopsy.

Where the biopsy aims to remove an area completely.  This
is usually only appropriate for small lumps or swellings.
Oral Biopsies
Incisional Biopsy.

Occasionally, only a small piece of an abnormal area is
removed to confirm a diagnosis.
A local anæsthetic injection is used to numb the area which
takes a couple of minutes to work.  After this injection the
procedure should be painless.  The biopsy usually leaves a
small hole that often requires stitching.  In the majority of
cases the stitches used are dissolvable and take around
two weeks to disappear.

All together, this procedure usually takes around 15 - 20
minutes from start to finish.

Before Your Appointment

No special precautions have to be taken before your
biopsy.  Make sure you take your medications as normal.

Please eat and drink as normal prior to your appointment
and DO NOT miss meals.

After Your Appointment

Following the procedure, the doctor will instruct you on how
to keep yourself comfortable over the next few days.

The biopsied area will be sore and any discomfort can be
controlled by pain-killers such as
paracetamol or ibuprofen.

You will be able to eat and drink as normal immediately
after the biopsy but avoid anything too hot for the first 24
hours.  Try not to either spit out or rinse out the mouth and
do not do any physical exertion for the next 24 hours as
this can make the swelling worse or dislodge the blood clot
at the site of operation encouraging more bleeding.

Use either a hot salty mouthwash or an antiseptic
mouthwash such as
Corsodyl, for the next few days,
starting 24 hours after the procedure.  This should lessen
the chance of infection at the biopsy site and hasten the
biopsy site’s healing.


If the lump or bump that is being biopsied looks to be a
well-recognised or common lump or bump, we won’t
necessarily review you on clinic but will send the biopsy
results to you.

In other cases, you will normally be given a review
appointment for the biopsy results to be discussed
approximately 3 – 4 weeks after the biopsy.

Useful Website & Articles:

European Association of Oral Medicine

Biopsy Post-op Care Advice

The Surgical Management of the Oral Soft Tissues - Biopsy