Biopsy Techniques in the Oral Cavity

Posted on 6/15/2024 by New York Oral, Maxillofacial, and Implant Surgery
dental staff in office in front of monitors discuss biopsy techniquesGrowths, ulcers, or other abnormalities in the mouth require a biopsy to determine if concerning cellular changes are present. Oral surgeons employ several methods to collect small tissue samples for laboratory analysis. Understanding biopsy procedures can help you know what to expect.

Incisional Biopsy

This technique involves numbing the area in question and using a scalpel to excise a fragment of the lesion. One or more small segments are removed and sutured closed. The excised piece undergoes microscopic examination to identify if abnormal cells exist. Incisional biopsies cause minimal trauma and leave little visible evidence once healed.

Excisional Biopsy

Similar to incisional biopsies, this approach removes tissue for inspection. However, the entire growth or abnormality is excised rather than just a sample piece. This is preferred when lesions are small, localized, and easy to extract. Total excision eliminates the lesion while also providing tissue to diagnose if cellular changes have developed.

Brush Biopsy

A brush biopsy employs a tiny brush to collect cellular material from suspicious lesions. Gentle back-and-forth brushing accumulates tissue samples without incisions. The harvested cells get preserved on the brush head for pathological testing. This simplified technique quickly gathers key diagnostic material without suturing or recovery.

Fine Needle Aspiration

Fine needle aspiration uses a syringe with an extremely thin needle to draw fluid or clusters of cells from cysts or growths. Multiple samples are usually collected from different lesion areas for laboratory interpretation. This method minimally disturbs tissues, involving no cuts or stitches. It causes brief, mild discomfort but rapid recovery.

Punch Biopsy

Some parts of the mouth, like the inside of the cheek, undergo a punch biopsy to obtain tissue. A sharp circular blade extracts a core sample of the lesion under local anesthesia. Bleeding is controlled with chemical agents, and checks are performed after the small hole heals. When correctly performed, no suturing is necessary with this technique.

Selecting Ideal Approaches

When choosing a biopsy, oral surgeons consider factors like lesion visibility, size, and location. Getting an accurate diagnosis through minimally invasive biopsies provides a great starting point. This allows the development of treatment plans tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

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