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Tongue Biopsy: The procedure, risks, complications and more

  • Posted on- Oct 26, 2016
  • 2
Written by site author.

Tongue Biopsy is a procedure that involves the removal (either a portion or complete removal) of any abnormality present on the tongue. The removed tissue is then examined in a diagnostic lab to diagnose oral cancer (cancer of the tongue).

What are the reasons for a tongue biopsy procedure?

  • To investigate if abnormal lesions (or growth) within the tongue are cancerous
  • Removal of abnormal tongue tissue, which is then sent to a pathologist for examination
How a tongue biopsy procedure is performed?

  • A sample of tissue is obtained by either cutting out a small portion of the diseased area (incision biopsy), cutting out the lesion or diseased part completely (excision biopsy), or by using a special instrument to obtain a thick sample from the centre of the diseased portion (punch biopsy)
  • Any defect caused by the incision or excision technique is then sutured

A tongue biopsy procedure may be performed by a general surgeon, dentist or an oral surgeon. It may take around 20-30 minutes for the procedure to complete.

What are the preparations needed before a tongue biopsy procedure?

  • The doctor may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding, and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Do inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products for a while before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not, their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Complications during a tongue biopsy procedure

Complications after a tongue biopsy procedure

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection within the surgical wound

Post-operative care needed after a tongue biopsy procedure

  • Rinse mouth with warm salt-water to relieve any discomfort
  • Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication under advice of the physician
  • Take antibiotic medication to help combat or prevent infection (per the physician’s advice)
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain, per the physician’s advise
  • Resume daily food and fluid intake after the procedure, which will result in a faster healing process. If normal daily diet seems difficult at first, attempting a high-protein liquid diet for a few days might be helpful


user profile image
09-01-2018 08:32 AM

The information you shared is very useful. It comprises of all the things rangin from causes, symptoms to cost.

user profile image
10-01-2017 04:00 PM

I had my tongue biopsy done which further resulted in the presence of oral cancer. I had my treatment done and results are good.

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