What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is a procedure where a small piece of tissue is removed from an area so that it can be looked at closely under a microscope. The biopsy may aim to remove an area completely (an excision biopsy). This is usually only appropriate for small lumps or swellings. Occasionally only a small piece of an abnormal area is removed to confirm a diagnosis (an incisional biopsy).
How is it done?
In most cases biopsies are carried out under local anesthesia (an injection into the area to numb it). The injection takes a couple of minutes to work and means that the biopsy will be painless.
Is there much soreness or swelling afterwards?
When the local anesthetic wears off after a few hours there is relatively little in the way of pain or swelling. Occasionally it is necessary to take simple painkillers. Usually any discomfort only lasts a few days.
When can I return to work?
This largely depends on your job and how you feel after the procedure. Most people are able to return to work later the same day.
Are there any things I should do when I get home?
Be careful not to bite numb arrears of your mouth. On the day of surgery you should avoid rinsing your mouth out vigorously as the may cause bleeding. You should clean your teeth normally, including those teeth next to the site of the biopsy. If you find the food catches around the stitches then the area can be gently rinsed with mouthwash or warm salt water (dissolve a teaspoon of kitchen salt in a cup of warm water) commencing on the day after surgery.
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