Oral Maxillofacial Surgery | After Biopsy in Carmel

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After Biopsy

Immediately Following Surgery

  • If a gauze pad was placed over the surgical area, it should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
  • Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the surgery site following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding or cause the sutures to become dislodged.
  • If pain medication was prescribed, it should be taken as soon as possible.  You will begin to feel discomfort when the local anesthetic starts to wear off.
  • Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Place ice packs to the surgical site. Refer to the section on swelling for further details.



A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following surgery. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. This can be controlled by placing a gauze pad over the surgical area and holding firm pressure for fifteen to thirty minutes. Repeat if necessary. To minimize further bleeding, sit upright, and avoid exercise. If bleeding does not subside, call for further instructions.

Swelling / Bruising

There may be some minor swelling in the region of your biopsy.  This is normally expected and is usually proportional to the size of the biopsy specimen. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery and eventual repair. The swelling may not become apparent until the day following surgery and will not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-operatively. However, the swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs. If necessary, an ice pack should be applied to the surgical site off and on for 20 minutes at a time while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Thirty-six hours following surgery, the application of moist heat, or a heating pad, to the surgical site is beneficial in reducing the size of the swelling.

In some cases, discoloration of the skin follows swelling. The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal post-operative occurrence, which may occur 2-3 days post-operatively. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.

Rinsing / Hygiene

No rinsing of any kind should be performed until the day following surgery. You can brush your teeth the night of surgery but be very gentle near the surgical area. The day after surgery begin rinsing after eating with an 8oz cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. 


Unless instructed otherwise, start with a soft diet and advance to a regular diet as tolerated. Be especially careful of chewing if your tongue or lip is still numb from the anesthetic that was administered. If you had an IV sedation, start with fluids before advancing your diet.


For most biopsies, discomfort can be controlled by taking up to four tablets of 200mg Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) every 8 hours (so, a total of 800mg every 8 hours).

If pain medication was prescribed, alternate Ibuprofen with the prescription pain medication.  The prescribed pain medicine will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. After initially increasing over the first few days, discomfort following surgery should subside more and more every day.  If pain persists, it may require attention and you should call the office.

If you have been placed on antibiotics, take as directed. Antibiotics will be given to help prevent infection. Discontinue antibiotic use in the event of a rash or other unfavorable reaction. Call the office if you have any questions.


If you are involved in regular exercise, be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may therefore cause you to feel weak. If you get light headed, stop exercising.  Please wait 48 hours prior to resuming your normal exercise regimen.

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