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Oropharynx lesion biopsy

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

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 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 done when there is an abnormal tissue area.

What abnormal results mean

What the risks are

  • Infection of the site
  • Bleeding at 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

 Harréus U. Malignant neoplasms of the oropharynx. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA; Elsevier Mosby; 2010:chap 100.

Updated: 11/9/2012

Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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