Tongue Biopsy? - side of tongue near back

mommarat Member Posts: 1 *
edited May 1 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Hi! My dentist found a pea sized bump on the side of my tongue close to the very back. How painful is the biopsy? Will local anesthetics be enough or should I be put under? How long does the biopsy last? I don’t have issues with numbing injections when I get fillings but it might be a different ballgame when talking about the tongue. What should I expect for recovery time? I am super nervous since it’s so far back on my tongue.


  • BertChen
    BertChen Member Posts: 3 Member

    My biopsy was from the tonsil / side of jaw area. The numbing was the same as at the dentist, which I hate. But after that it was the sound of the snip, not any pain for me.

    My ENT did the biopsy right there in the office. Same with the Oncology ENT that I was referred to...

    I don't know if the tongue will feel different...

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 1,774 Member
    edited April 26 #3

    Hello, mamarat and BertChen, and welcome to the CSN H&N forum/discussion board. I also had a small tumor probably pea-sized or smaller on the left side of my tongue more towards the front. As Bert said expect some pain which would be the normal amount you would expect from putting a needle in to numb the area. Once numb you may feel them taking a small sample but it should not be painful. There is not really a recovery time needed for this but my tongue had a mildly sore spot for a coup[le days where the biopsy was taken. My spot turned out to be cancer, squamous cell as most head and neck cancers are. My ENT took the biopsy. A date was then set up and the same ENT removed the spot from my tongue in the hospital. I guess it would be termed outpatient because you go home the same day. He got clear margins during the surgery and no follow-up treatment was performed such as chemo or radiation But each case is different so go by the directions of your ENT. I am hoping for a verdict of no cancer for you. I also recommend that you folks check out the Superthread at the top of the H&N page, it is loaded with information.

    Clear margins--

    "The edge or border of the tissue removed in cancer surgery. The margin is described as negative or clean when the pathologist finds no cancer cells at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has been removed."

    Wishing You the Best

    Take care, God Bless-Russ

  • katlou
    katlou Member Posts: 80 Member
    edited April 26 #4

    I had a white patch on the underside of my tongue around the middle and near the side of the tongue which my dentist also found about 5 years ago. My ENT removed the entire patch in his office and a small cancer was found which was completely removed during this procedure. I needed to have another surgery to make sure the margins around the cancer were wide enough but no radiation or chemo in my case because it was caught very early. I just had a local anesthetic for the biopsy/removal of the white patch and I was fine during the procedure, no pain during the procedure but you might want to have someone drive you home even with local anesthetic. The ENT left it open rather than stitching it back together so there was a period of recovery where I could only eat soft foods and liquids but I only took an over the counter pain med for this. The second part of this where I had surgery I was put under because they removed quite a bit more tissue but even with that my recovery wasn't too bad. Good luck with your procedure and I hope that it doesn't turn out to be cancer.

  • Rbms70
    Rbms70 Member Posts: 1 Member

    I had a tongue biopsy of the right lateral portion in March of 2021. It was quite uncomfortable but tolerable. The numbing of the tongue was the worst part. I had my procedure done by an MD/DDS on the Oral Maxillofacial team. ( I remember one of the nurses asked if I wanted to hold her hand. I said yes and squeezed it like crazy.). It ended up being SCC and I had surgery about a week a half later with right partial glossectomy, free flap reconstruction, total neck dissection, tracheostomy and NG tube. That was followed by six weeks of radiation.

    I did have issues with excessive bleeding after my biopsy. ( I have also had this with other procedures so not unusual for me.). One of the tips they gave me was to moisten a black tea bag, put it in the site and hold for 15 minutes. It helped! I don’t say that to alarm you, just as a rip in case you need it. I just wish I had called my surgical team a bit sooner than I did for guidance. Eating was also a challenge so stuck to soft foods. Cream of wheat with half and half plus sugar was a common meal.

    Best of luck to you and hope it ends of being nothing.