Health Information

Oropharynx lesion biopsy

Oropharynx lesion biopsy


Throat lesion biopsy; Biopsy - mouth or throat; Mouth lesion biopsy

An oropharynx lesion biopsy is surgery in which tissue from an abnormal growth or mouth sore is removed and checked for problems.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • How the Test is Performed

    Painkiller or numbing medicine is first applied to the area. For large sores or sores of the throat, general anesthesia may be needed. This means you will be asleep during the procedure.

    All or part of the problem area (lesion) is removed. It is sent to the laboratory to check for problems. If a growth in the mouth or throat needs to be removed, the biopsy will be done first. This is followed by the actual removal of the growth.

  • How to Prepare for the Test

    If a simple painkiller or local numbing medicine is to be used, there is no special preparation. If the test is part of a growth removal or if general anesthesia is used, you will likely be told not to eat for 6 - 8 hours before the test.

  • How the Test Will Feel

    You may feel pressure or tugging while the tissue is being removed. After the numbness wears off, the area may be sore for a few days.

  • Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done to determine the cause of a sore (lesion) in the throat.

  • Normal Results

    This test is only done when there is an abnormal tissue area.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean

    • Cancer (such as squamous cell carcinoma)
    • Fungal infections (such as candida)
    • Histoplasmosis
    • Oral lichen planus
    • Precancerous sore (leukoplakia)
    • Viral infections (such as Herpes simplex)
  • Risks

    • Infection of the site
    • Bleeding at the site

    If there is bleeding, the blood vessels may be sealed (cauterized) with an electric current or laser.

  • Considerations

    Avoid hot or spicy food after the biopsy.

Related Information

  HistoplasmosisCancerSquamous cell skin...Lichen planus     Herpes simplex


 Harréus U. Malignant neoplasms of the oropharynx. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA; Elsevier Mosby; 2010:chap 100.


Review Date: 11/9/2012  

Reviewed By: Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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