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Oropharynx lesion biopsy

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

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

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Throat anatomy
Oropharyngeal biopsy

How the Test is Performed

Painkiller or numbing medicine is first applied to the area. For large sores or sores of the throat, general anesthesia may be needed. This means you will be asleep during the procedure.

All or part of the problem area (lesion) is removed. It is sent to the laboratory to check for problems. If a growth in the mouth or throat needs to be removed, the biopsy will be done first. This is followed by the actual removal of the growth.

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 growth removal or if general anesthesia is used, you will likely be asked not to eat for 6 to 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 Results

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

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may mean:

Risks

Risks of the procedure may include:

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

Considerations

Avoid hot or spicy food after the biopsy.

Related Information

Histoplasmosis
Cancer
Squamous cell skin cancer
Lichen planus

References

Dockrell DH, Ho A, Gordon SB. Community-acquired pneumonia. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 46.

Sinha P, Harréus U. Malignant neoplasms of the oropharynx. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 96.

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Review Date: 12/31/2020  

Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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