Upper airway biopsy
Upper airway biopsy is surgery in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the upper airway (nose, mouth, throat) for examination.
Biopsy - upper airway
How the test is performed
The health care provider will spray a numbing medicine in your mouth and throat. A metal tube is inserted to hold your tongue out of the way.
Another numbing medicine is injected through the tube down the back of the throat. This may cause you to cough at first. When the area feels thick or swollen, it is numb.
The abnormal area is viewed, and a small piece of tissue is removed. It is sent to the laboratory for examination.
How to prepare for the test
Do not eat for 6 - 12 hours before the test. You must sign an informed consent form.
How the test will feel
As the area is being numbed, you may feel like there is fluid running down the back of your throat. You may feel the need to cough or gag. And you may feel pressure or mild tugging.
When the numbness wears off, your throat may feel scratchy for several days. After the test, the cough reflex will return in 1 - 2 hours. Then you may eat and drink normally.
Why the test is performed
This test may be may be done when your doctor thinks there may be a problem or defect. It may also be done as part of a bronchoscopy when defects are in the upper airway as well as the lung tissue.
There are normal upper airway tissues, with no abnormal growths.
What abnormal results mean
Disorders or conditions that may be discovered include:
What the risks are
- Bleeding (some bleeding is common, excessive bleeding is not)
- Breathing difficulties
- Sore throat
There is a risk of choking if you swallow water or food before the numbness wears off.
Alan Lipkin, MD, Otolaryngologist, Private Practice, Denver, Colorado. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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