POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BIOPSY PROCEDURE
A soft tissue biopsy is a minor surgical procedure. Therefore, it is natural that temporary changes will occur in the mouth afterward. You’ll be back to normal functioning typically in just a few days. Typically, the after-effects of a biopsy are quite minimal, so not all of these instructions may apply. Common sense will often dictate what you should do. However, when in doubt, always follow the instructions herein and those given by Dr. Steve Shufflebarger. If you have any questions, you can contact the office.
Although, the post-operative care is fully detailed in these instructions, here are your main key points to a fast recovery after your biopsy procedure:
- IF GAUZE WAS PLACED, MAINTAIN CONSISTENT FIRM PRESSURE UNTIL BLEEDING HAS STOPPED
- START SALT WATER RINSES TODAY AND CONTINUE FOR 2 WEEKS, 5 TIMES PER DAY
- AVOID CONTACT WITH THE BIOPSY SITE BY PREVENTING TOUCHING/RUBBING OF THE SITE WITH YOUR FINGERS OR TONGUE
- AVOID HOT LIQUIDS AND FOOD FOR DAY OF PROCEDURE AND 2 DAYS AFTERWARDS
- AVOID ACIDIC FOOD AND DRINKS FOR DAY OF PROCEDURE AND 2 DAYS AFTERWARDS
Bleeding: Bleeding is normal after a biopsy, and is sometimes more of a concern depending upon the location of the biopsy. Specific instructions for your biopsy procedure were given by Dr. Shufflebarger and staff at your appointment and need to be followed. Bleeding can be controlled by using gauze and firm pressure on the site. Firm pressure is obtained by placing gauze on the site and pushing/holding it firmly with your fingers. It may take 30 minutes to 1 hour or even longer for the bleeding to stop depending upon the location and your particular circumstances.
Keep utilizing the gauze provided as indicated until you have achieved a clot or bleeding has stopped. Make sure to avoid activities that might disturb the area and activate bleeding including touching, rubbing or otherwise irritating the site with your tongue or fingers.
If the bleeding is severe and uncontrollable despite applying pressure and following the directions given, you need to immediately contact the office and/or go to the local Hospital Emergency Room.
Anesthetics: The length of time you experience numbness varies depending on the type of anesthetic you’ve received. While your mouth is numb, you’ll want to be careful not to bite your cheek, lip or tongue. The numbness should subside within several hours.
Rinsing: Unless instructed otherwise by Dr. Shufflebarger or staff, beginning today (day of biopsy procedure) gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water (half a teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water). Rinsing is necessary for 2 weeks after your biopsy procedure and should be done 5 times per day and especially after you eat. Rinsing with salt water helps to heal the site and cleanse your soft tissue. You do not need to rinse your mouth vigorously but make sure you swish the salt water in your mouth so it comes into contact with the biopsy site. Avoid using any other mouth rinses, mouthwash or other products during this healing period. The use of anything other than salt water after your procedure can result in severe irritation of the site, prevention of healing, or potential recurrence. Salt water is the only advised product to be used after your biopsy.
Diet: On the day of the biopsy and for 2 days afterwards, avoid acidic food and beverages, hot food and beverages, and liquor. Acidic and hot foods can irritate the site, cause ulcerations and prevent healing. Acidic foods and beverages include items such as citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), tomatoes, orange juice, and tomato juice.
Healing: The length of time for healing after a biopsy varies depending upon the location, circumstances and specific patient. Your personal aftercare is important to your healing process. Salt water rinses, proper diet and refraining from irritating/rubbing and touching the site are vital to the healing process. We understand the area may feel different and you want to touch it or feel it with your tongue, but an undisturbed site will heal much quicker and better than constant disruption. The better you take care of yourself the better and faster the site will heal. If anything seems out of the normal during the healing process, please contact the office so we can discuss with you or schedule an appointment to check the site.
Pain: Unfortunately most oral surgery is accompanied by some degree of discomfort. You may have been given prescription medication or suggested over the counter medications to control pain. Use it only as Dr. Shufflebarger has directed. If the medication prescribed does not seem to work for you, do not increase the dosage. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or fever, call the office immediately. We will give you instruction on how to care for your problem.
Diagnosis: At the time of the procedure, Dr. Shufflebarger and staff reviewed options including the submission of the biopsy specimen to a Pathologist for definitive diagnosis. This diagnosis allows us to determine what, if any, additional care and treatment are needed after the biopsy. This is an elective part that is chosen after review of the risks and benefits. It is typically highly recommended that a Pathologist review the specimen as even if a clinical working diagnosis is provided by Dr. Shufflebarger at the time of the biopsy, a Pathologist’s extensive review and examination under a microscope may lead to different information or more specific information and diagnosis. Dr. Shufflebarger has always used Oral Pathology Consultants at Ohio State University for the pathologist review.
Oral Pathologist Review: If Pathologist review was elected, please note that this is a separate and independent step in the biopsy procedure. The procedure performed by Dr. Shufflebarger is a dental procedure utilizing your dental insurance (if there are any such dental benefits with your insurance plan). When the Pathologist examines the biopsy and performs their review, this is a medical procedure utilizing your medical benefits (again, if there are any such benefits with your medical insurance plan). As a result, Ohio Pathology Consultants requires forms be completed, consent obtained and copies of your medical insurance card be submitted to them with the biopsy specimen. We collected this information from you at the procedure and submitted it on your behalf. Please be aware that there is a separate charge for the pathologist review and you are responsible for payment to them directly should your medical insurance not cover that portion. Please keep in mind every medical policy is different including deductibles and coverages and we have no way of knowing what the charges would or could be for you. Any amounts due and owing by you would be provided by the Ohio Pathology Consultants at Ohio State University and again is independent of Dr. Shufflebarger and our office.
Pathologist Report: Upon completion of the Pathologist’s review, we will receive a Pathology Report that advises of the diagnosis. At this time, Dr. Shufflebarger will review the report and advise if we need follow up care to check the healing, additional care or treatment, or potentially referral to another medical provider for additional treatment or exam.
Every biopsy is different as to whether return visits are needed. At the time of your appointment it was discussed if Dr. Shufflebarger would like to schedule a return visit or recheck appointment. Many times we have indicated that if the results are as Dr. Shufflebarger expected and discussed with you during your appointment and follow up care is not needed, then with your consent, we can simply contact you to review over the phone and answer any questions. If Dr. Shufflebarger is requesting another visit or the results returned warranting another visit, then we will contact you upon return of the Pathology report to schedule the appointment.
Pathologist Review Not Elected: If the choice was made to have Dr. Shufflebarger perform the biopsy and not receive Pathologist review, then unless recommended by Dr. Shufflebarger, no further action is needed from you. Dr. Shufflebarger advised if a return visit is warranted to check for potential recurrence or healing confirmation. Otherwise you will just follow your post operative care instructions for healing and contact the office if you feel you need any additional care.
THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING US TO ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR NEEDED SURGICAL CARE It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have questions about your progress, please call the office. If possible, calling during office hours will afford a faster response to your question or concern. We are willing and will always offer post-operative care to make sure you are healing properly and can address any concerns you may have. We hope you have a quick recovery period and heal well after your surgical procedure. Please contact the office (937-532-5693) if you need assistance.