Biopsies are standard, but what is it, and why would you need one? The role of an oral surgeon goes far beyond ensuring the health of your teeth. As well as oral health, they specialize in head and neck health. Oral surgeons can also spot many diseases related to your physical health, including oral cancer. To confirm a cancer diagnosis, a biopsy may be performed.
Today, let’s take a look at biopsies, how they work, and how long it takes for these biopsies to provide results. Read until the end and discover what oral biopsies can do for you.
What are Biopsies?
An oral biopsy is used to examine tissue from the patient’s oral cavity to diagnose. Simply put, biopsies are procedures in which a small piece of tissue is removed from an area to be examined under a microscope in detail.
Oral surgeons may notice symptoms that concern them while examining your teeth. A routine exam can reveal signs of many diseases. An oral surgeon can detect problems such as:
- Oral Cancer
- Oral Infections
Checking for Oral Cancers and Having a Biopsy
Biopsies diagnose mouth or oropharyngeal cancer that needs to be taken care of for oral care. A tissue sample from the affected area will help your pathologist look at tissues under microscopes to see if cancer cells are present.
There are several ways to check the back of your mouth and throat and take biopsies. These include:
- incisional biopsy
You might also have biopsies to check for cancer in swollen lymph nodes or neck lumps.
Oral Biopsies: Looking Inside Mouth, Throat, and Airways
You usually have a nasendoscopy test to look at the inside of your nose, your mouth, and the back of your throat. Meanwhile, you might also have a panendoscopy wherein your doctor does biopsies of abnormal areas at the back of the mouth and throat.
Practitioners can take a biopsy without using a panendoscope if the abnormal area is easy to reach, for example, on your lip or the inside of your cheek. This test is an incisional biopsy.
Biopsies were done as a nasendoscopy was tested to look at the inside of the mouth, the throat or pharynx, and the voice box or larynx.
Before – Before your panendoscopy, you usually have a pre-assessment appointment. This step prepares you before your scheduled operation. Meeting the members of your treatment team will also happen during this appointment.
During – While you are asleep, your surgeon uses the panendoscope to look at your throat, voice box, nose, top of your windpipe, and top of your windpipe. Any abnormal areas may take biopsies, which are sent to the laboratory to be looked at under a microscope.
After – You usually go home the same day after you have recovered from the anesthetic. As you have a general anesthetic, you’ll need someone to take you home and stay with you overnight. Also, for the next 24 hours, you shouldn’t drive, drink alcohol, or operate heavy machinery.
Panendoscopies are tests to look at your upper airway. This test includes your mouth, nose, voice box, and top of your food pipe.
Before – Before your panendoscopy, you usually have a pre-assessment appointment. This event prepares you for everything needed for your operation. You will also meet members of your treatment team at this appointment.
During – While you are asleep, your surgeon uses the panendoscope to look at the parts to be done with biopsies. If there are abnormal areas, biopsies are taken and sent to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope.
After – You usually go home after you have recovered from the anesthetic. This incident is generally on the same day. As you have a general anesthetic, someone should be with you to take you home and stay with you during the night. Twenty-four (24) hours after, it is advised you shouldn’t drive, drink alcohol, or operate heavy machinery.
Scalpel or Incisional Biopsy
Incision biopsies mean cutting out small tissues from the affected areas. It is sometimes called a scalpel biopsy. You have it under local anesthetic.
Before – Take all your usual medicines as normal unless your doctor or nurse tells you otherwise. If you take medication to thin your blood, you should stop it before your biopsy. Your doctor or nurse will notify you when to stop.
Practitioners will explain what will happen and ask you to sign a consent form. This session is an excellent time to ask any questions. Biopsies take a few minutes, but you will be in the department for about 30 to 60 minutes. This extra time lets you be:
- comfortable before they start the biopsy
- briefed and made understood why you have the biopsy
- cared by the nurse and check if you are well enough to go home afterward
During – Biopsies are usually done as you lie on a couch. Once ready, your doctor injects local anesthetic into the targeted areas to numb
Practitioners cut around the affected area using a scalpel, gently lift the piece of tissue using a pair of tweezers, and cut it off. This procedure may be uncomfortable but only lasts a short time. For many people, the most awkward part is the local anesthetic injection.
The biopsy is sent to the laboratory. Pathologists look at the sample under a microscope to see if there are any cancer cells.
After – You can usually go home soon after your biopsy.
Getting the Results
You usually get your biopsy results within two (2) weeks. Waiting for biopsy results can genuinely be a worrying and concerning time. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about the time you will need to wait and take before getting your results. Call them and follow up if you haven’t heard anything from your providers after a few weeks.
You might also have to reach out to specialist nurses. You are contacting them for further information and support if you need to. You can get your expert nurse if you find it hard to cope. Talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.
Final Thoughts on Biopsies
Biopsies significantly help in the prevention and eventual cure of potential oral cancers. Discuss this procedure with your trusted doctor or healthcare provider so you can take care of everything. Let biopsies help you live life with peace of mind.
Our wonderful friends at Access Oral Surgery can help you today if you want biopsies. Visit them now!