A biopsy is a procedure in which an area of tissue or bone is taken and sent to a pathologist for examination to determine its origin. These instructions provide some general guidelines for your post-operative care.
Some bleeding is expected after any surgical procedure and is a normal part of healing. Gauze will be provided to you to help control bleeding following your biopsy. If you have had a biopsy inside your mouth, you will need to moisten the gauze, squeeze out the excess water, and place over the incision, applying pressure to the area. If the biopsy was outside of your mouth, you will need to hold gauze in place to apply pressure. A small amount of bleeding can continue intermittently for a few days, especially if the area is stimulated by movement. If stitches were placed inside your mouth, they will dissolve on their own in 7–10 days. If non-dissolving stitches were placed, we will remove them at your post-op visit. Any physical activity will raise your heart rate and increase bleeding, so minimize any exercise for a few days following surgery.
Swelling is also a normal part of post-operative healing and can increase for 2–3 days following any surgery, slowly resolving after this. You may be instructed to apply ice and/or heat to the area. If so, we will provide you with an ice pack to apply to the area for 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours. This will help minimize swelling and pain during this time. After this, switch to heat. Warm, moist towels work well.
If you have been sedated for your procedure, you may not drive for 24 hours. You may also have been prescribed a narcotic pain medication. If so, you also cannot drive while taking this. If your biopsy was inside your mouth, an antibiotic mouth rinse might be prescribed to help keep the area clean. If so, do not use it until the morning after your biopsy to avoid stimulating further bleeding during the initial healing. If an antibiotic was prescribed, make sure to take it until completely gone. If your procedure was outside of your mouth, you will need to keep it clean and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment regularly throughout the day to keep it moist and avoid scarring. After the sutures are removed, you will need to apply sunscreen when outside to the area to avoid the scar darkening and becoming more prominent.
Hydration and nutrition are important for healing following surgery. You may be more comfortable with a soft diet initially, but you can eat what you like. You are only limited by your discomfort. Remember to always eat prior to taking any pain medications to avoid nausea; drink plenty of water and eat high-fiber foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) to avoid constipation.
A follow-up appointment will be scheduled approximately 10 days from your surgery date to review your biopsy report with you, check healing, and remove any sutures that remain. If you have not been scheduled for a follow-up or have any questions, please contact us at our office at (254) 399-9925.