How to Prepare for Lip Biopsy in Diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome

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by Vaidyanathan Subramaniam |

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A lip biopsy, also called a labial gland biopsy, is used to help diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome. In this procedure, a few of the minor salivary glands inside the lower lip are removed and examined for signs of inflammation.

Although relatively straightforward, the following points may help you to be better prepared for the biopsy.

Arrive early

Arriving at least 30 minutes early usually helps to reduce anxiety and allows time to relax before any medical test. You may also have time to update your doctor about your symptoms.

Avoid NSAIDs and blood thinners

A lip biopsy involves making an incision in the lower lip to remove a few minor salivary glands. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are known to cause excessive bleeding during biopsies and surgeries. You may be required to discontinue the use of NSAIDs at least two weeks before the biopsy.

Anticoagulant blood thinners such as coumadin should also be stopped at least five days before the procedure as they prevent blood from clotting and therefore increase the risk of excessive bleeding. Check with your doctor for exact instructions about medications.

Notify your doctor if you are allergic to lidocaine

The lip biopsy procedure involves numbing the biopsy site with a local anesthetic, which is usually a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine. Let the doctor know if you are allergic to lidocaine so that an alternative local anesthetic can be used.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations

After the biopsy, you may feel swelling and numbness in the lower lip due to the local anesthetic, but the effect will gradually wear off within an hour. Notify your doctor if you are experiencing pain after the procedure or if the swelling persists. You may be given antibiotics if needed and also asked to avoid hard and sticky foods for about a week.


Last updated: Sept. 16, 2019


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