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Oropharynx Lesion Biopsy

Definition

An oropharynx lesion biopsy is surgery in which tissue from an abnormal growth or mouth sore is removed and checked for problems.

Alternative Names

Throat lesion biopsy; Biopsy - mouth or throat; Mouth lesion biopsy

How the test is performed

A painkiller or numbing medicine is first applied to the area. For large sores or sores of the throat, general anesthesia may be needed. All or part of the lesion is removed and sent to the laboratory to check for problems. If there is a growth in the mouth or throat, the biopsy may be the first part of tumor removal.

How to prepare for the test

If a simple painkiller or local numbing medicine is to be used, there is no special preparation. If the test is part of a tumor removal or if general anesthesia is to be used, you may be told not to eat for 6 - 8 hours before the test.

How the test will feel

You may feel pressure or tugging while the tissue is being removed. After the numbness wears off, the area may be sore for a few days.

Why the test is performed

This test is done to determine the cause of a sore (lesion) in the throat.

Normal Values

This test is only performed when there is an abnormal tissue area.

What abnormal results mean

  • Cancer (such as squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Fungal infections (such as candida)
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Oral lichen planus
  • Precancerous sore (leukoplakia)
  • Viral infections (such as Herpes simplex)

What the risks are

  • Infection of the site
  • Bleeding from the site

If there is bleeding, the blood vessels may be sealed (cauterized) with an electric current or laser.

Special considerations

Avoid hot or spicy food after the biopsy.

References

Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St Louis, Mo; Mosby; 2005.

Review Date: 10/10/2008

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