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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.


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.

Oropharyngeal biopsy

Alternative Names

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

  • 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.

Considerations

Avoid hot or spicy food after the biopsy.

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Throat anatomyOropharyngeal biopsy

References

Lee FE-H, Treanor JJ. Viral infections. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 32.

Sinha P, Harreus U. Malignant neoplasms of the oropharynx. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 97.