Salivary gland biopsy
Salivary gland biopsy is the removal of cells or a piece of tissue from a salivary gland for exam.
Biopsy - salivary gland
How the Test is Performed
You have several pairs of salivary glands that drain into your mouth:
One type of salivary gland biopsy is a needle biopsy.
A biopsy can also be done to:
An open surgical biopsy of the glands in the lips or the parotid gland can also be performed to diagnose diseases such as Sjogren syndrome.
How to Prepare for the Test
There is no special preparation for a needle biopsy. However, you may be asked not to drink or eat anything for a few hours before the test.
For surgical removal of a tumor, preparation is the same as for any major surgery. You will not be able to eat anything for 6 to 8 hours before the surgery.
How the Test will Feel
With a needle biopsy, you may feel some stinging or burning if a local numbing medicine is injected.
You may feel pressure or mild discomfort when the needle is inserted. This should only last for 1 or 2 minutes.
The area may feel tender or be bruised for a few days after the biopsy.
The biopsy for Sjogren syndrome requires an injection of the anesthetic in the lip or in the front of the ear. You will have stitches where the tissue sample was removed.
Why the Test is Performed
This test is done to find the cause of abnormal lumps or growths of the salivary glands. It is also done to diagnose Sjogren syndrome.
The salivary gland tissue is normal.
What Abnormal Results Mean
Abnormal results may indicate:
Risks from this procedure include:
Miloro M, Kolokythas A. Diagnosis and management of salivary gland disorders. In: Hupp JR, Ellis E, Tucker MR, eds. Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 21.
Miller-Thomas M. Diagnostic imaging and fine-needle aspiration of the salivary glands. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 84.
Review Date: 2/27/2019
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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