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Biopsy information for head and neck patients

  • What is a biopsy?

    A biopsy is a procedure in which a piece of tissue is removed and sent to the pathology lab for examination.

    What should I know about this procedure?

    The doctor will explain the procedure and have you sign a consent form.

    1. A local anesthetic (usually lidocaine) is injected into the area to be biopsied to make the area numb. The anesthetic may initially cause a burning sensation, but within minutes the area should begin to feel numb. Please inform your doctor if you feel any discomfort during the procedure.
    2. A piece of tissue will then be removed and sent to the pathology lab for testing. There will be some bleeding in the affected area which the doctor will help you control with pressure and application of silver nitrate.
    3. If necessary, the doctor may stitch the site and give you further instructions about caring for the stitches.

    How will I find out about the results of the biopsy?

    Results will usually be available in three to five working days. You will be given an appointment with your doctor to discuss the results.

    When should I call the doctor?

    Call your doctor if you notice any of the following:

    • Fever of 100.5° F or above.
    • Pain at the site that is not controlled by the medicines for pain your doctor prescribed.
    • Uncontrolled bleeding at the site.
  • Teaching Sheets
  • Head and Neck Cancer