Typically, the incisions used for biopsy procedures are generally small and easy to care for. The biggest risk to this procedure (which is actually very small) is the possibility of bleeding.
Keep your fingers and tongue away from the biopsy site during the healing process. Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours as this may prevent proper clotting.
You can brush your teeth after the biopsy, but avoid directly brushing the biopsy site for at least 24 hours and no heavy swishing or rinsing of the mouth during this time. Please allow saliva to fall out of your mouth, rather than actively spitting. Do not smoke for 72 hours after your biopsy.
Stitches placed are resorbable and will fall out when they are ready (unless otherwise instructed). If your stitches fall out in the first day, do not be concerned. It is fine if you happen to swallow the stitches.
Bandaids: You will be told if a collagen bandaid had been placed. These help with initial clotting in tissues that are difficult to stitch back together. These can be thrown out when they fall out and there is no concern if they are swallowed.
Bleeding: It is normal for there to be some blood in your saliva and even for the biopsy site to bleed. If bleeding is present fold up some gauze and apply direct pressure to the area for 20-30 minutes.
Swelling: It is a normal part of the healing process for swelling to occur and it tends to reach its maximum peak after 48-72 hours. Ice packs placed near the area may help decrease swelling (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off), but this is not required.
Pain: If you are not allergic to acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol), take 1-2 extra strength (500mg) tablets every 6 hours unless otherwise directed. Try to take your first dose before the freezing wears off. If the pain is not tolerable, you can add any prescription pain medication that was given to you, or ibuprofen (eg. Advil) 200 mg, one tablet every 6 hours. The pain will decrease significantly after 3-4 days.
Antibiotics: these are not routinely prescribed when a biopsy is taken and you will only be given them if there is an indication for it.
Eating and Drinking: You can drink lukewarm and cold liquids right after the procedure, but do not use a straw. Once the freezing has worn off (~2 hours) you may eat. For the first 24 hours try to have soft foods or fluids only. Avoid sharp or tough foods that may irritate the biopsy site. If not painful, you can move to more solid foods after 24 hours.
Appearance: bruising of the skin and tissues around the site is not unusual and will fade with time. Biopsies in the mouth will heal with a scab formation that can sometimes appear white or yellow. Scabs in the mouth appear white, much like if you had a scab on your skin and it got wet. The white appearance is not indication of an infection.
Biopsy Results: Your clinician will have discussed with you how the biopsy results will be relayed to you. They will also be available on your UHN portal. Results can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks.