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 the 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.
You should begin taking pain medicine as soon as you feel the local anesthetic start wearing off. For mild to moderate pain, ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) may be taken. Ibuprofen bought over the counter comes in 200mg tablets: 3 tablets may be taken every 6 hours as needed for pain. You may alternate with 2 Extra Strength Tylenol® as needed (example: 12 PM—Ibuprofen, 3 PM—Tylenol, 6 PM—Ibuprofen, 9 PM—Tylenol). For severe pain, the prescribed pain medicine should be taken as directed with food. Tylenol may be in the prescribed pain medication; therefore, do not take Extra Strength Tylenol when taking prescribed pain medication. Do not take any of the above medications if you are allergic or have been instructed by your doctor not to do so.
Swelling is also a normal part of post-operative healing and can increase for 2-3 days following surgery, slowly resolving after this. You may apply an ice pack to area for 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours; this will help minimize swelling during this time. After this, switch to warm, moist heat.
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 to the area when outside 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.