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A Young Scientist looking through a micr
Post Operative Biopsy Instructions:
Generally, there are 2 types of biopsies:  an excisional biopsy (in which the lesion is entirely removed) or an incisional biopsy (in which only part of a lesion is removed).  Your surgeon will perform what is indicated in your case.  Also, a biopsy may be performed on lesions on your face, from your sinuses, on your facial bones, or on soft tissue in your mouth.
1.  No smoking!  
2.  Refrain from using a straw.  If you need to drink, you can sip from a cup.  You can use a spoon for soups.
3.  You may experience significant swelling.  This is normal!  In fact, swelling is expected to increase for 3 days after your procedure, peak at the 3rd to 4th day, and then start to decrease.  You may use ice packs for the first 24 hours to help with swelling.  You can apply these 20 mins on, 20 mins off over the area that was worked on.  Don't place ice directly on your face, as you may be numb in the area and may not feel how cold it actually gets!  If you have swelling that is increasing beyond the first week, or swelling that is returning to the site, please contact our office to make a post-operative appointment.
4.  Sleep with an old towel over your pillow.  You may continue to have some blood in your saliva.  This may continue for a few days.  Remember, most of this is your saliva with a small amount of blood.
5.  If there is bleeding, place gauze over the biopsy site and keep pressure by biting if the biopsy was in the mouth, or holding the gauze with firm pressure if it was on the skin or on the face.  Make sure if on the face, wipe the blood clean to avoid large clots, as this can lead to scarring.  If bleeding persists, contact our office.
6.  Avoid any strenuous activity.  Usually, you will be able to return to school or work in 3-5 days.  No sports, running, or heavy activity for 2-3 weeks.
7.  Use medications as directed.
8.  If the biopsy was inside the mouth, you can clean the area by gently brushing.  You can purchase a baby tooth brush that has a small head and soft bristles to allow you to clean better.  You need not be aggressive, but gently swipe the area clean.  Continue to use the mouth rinse written by your doctor, or use salt water.  If the biopsy was in the sinuses, follow post-operative sinus pre-cautions.
9.  If stitches were used, in most circumstances, they will dissolve on their own.
10.  Pain is experienced differently by everyone.  We do expect some level of discomfort immediately after the procedure.  The pain should start decreasing by the 3rd post-operative day.  Your doctor may write you pain medication.  If a stronger pain medication is used, it may cause nausea/vomiting.  Additionally, it may cause you to become drowsy.  If you have to take a stronger pain medication, refrain from driving, or using heavy machinery.
11.  In all cases, we make a post-operative appointment with you to discuss your biopsy results.  These usually return to us in 2-3 weeks.
  • Persistent or heavy bleeding not controlled by pressure
  • Swelling increasing after the first week
  • Pain increasing beyond the first week
  • Foul taste, foul smell, any sort of drainage from the area
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