There are various types of biopsies, and the amount of swelling, pain, and recovery time will vary based on the extent of the biopsy and the location of the biopsy. If you had sutures placed in the area of the biopsy, generally they will slowly dissolve on their own. Avoid the sutured area and chew away from the area of the biopsy. If you had a biopsy of the lip area, avoid pulling or stretching the area.
Immediately Following a Biopsy
The gauze pack should be kept in place with firm pressure over the area of the biopsy. Remove the pack after 30 minutes. If there is continued excessive bleeding, replace with new gauze and bite firmly again. Vigorous mouth rinsing or chewing in the areas of the biopsy should be avoided. This may cause increased bleeding or the blood clot to dislodge.
A liquid or soft diet is recommended for the first 24 hours. Avoid sucking through straws and eating hard or crunchy foods and spicy foods. Take the prescribed pain medication before the numbness from the local anesthesia wears off. Restrict your activities on the day of surgery and return to normal activities slowly. Place ice packs on the outside of the face where the biopsy was done. Use ice for the first 24 hours to decrease swelling by applying it on and off 20–30 minutes at a time.
Bleeding After a Biopsy
Slight bleeding and redness in the saliva are common after a biopsy. If there is excess bleeding, gently wipe any old clots from the mouth and then place clean new gauze over the area and bite firmly for 30–40 minutes. Repeat every 30–40 minutes with new gauze. If excessive bleeding continues, bite on a cold-water-moistened tea bag firmly for 30–40 minutes. Slowly remove the tea bag and leave the area alone. If there is still continued excessive bleeding, call our office for further instructions. Also, avoid excessive talking, drinking from a straw, or excessive chewing if there is continued bleeding.
Swelling After a Biopsy
Swelling is normal after any surgical procedure, including a minor biopsy. The extent of swelling varies and depends on the extent of the surgery and each individual patient. Swelling around the mouth, jaws, cheeks, and below the eyes is not uncommon. The swelling will usually reach its maximum 2–3 days after the surgical procedure. The swelling can be decreased by the immediate use of ice packs in the first 24 hours. Ice packs should be applied to the outside next to where the surgery was done. Keep the ice on for 20–30 minutes at a time, then remove for 20–30 minutes. Also, sitting upright and not lying flat on the first day will help to decrease the amount of swelling. You may have been prescribed other anti-inflammatory medications such as dexamethasone (Decadron). If you were prescribed these medications, follow the instructions written on the bottle.
Pain After a Biopsy
Pain medications may be required after a biopsy. If you can take ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®), take 400–600 mg every 6–8 hours or as prescribed by your doctor. Ibuprofen will help with pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. If you cannot take ibuprofen…