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Oral lesion excision

Our expert consultants perform excision procedures to remove lesions, such as ulcers and sores from inside the mouth or on the tongue, which may be caused by infection, inflammation, or cancer

Doctor examines a patient's mouth to see if she requires an oral lesion excision procedure
Oral lesion excision is a surgical procedure to remove an ulcer, growth or sore (lesion) from inside your mouth.

Oral lesions may be caused by infection, inflammation, or disease. In some cases, they may be precancerous or cancerous.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private oral lesion excision with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what oral lesion excision is, what happens during the procedure and what to expect during your recovery.

The cost of this procedure depends on your individual circumstances. At the time of your appointment your consultant will discuss all options with you and ensure all your questions are answered.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you.

If you have private health insurance, the procedure will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

Some oral lesions may be cancerous, or precancerous (which means they may develop into cancer). These lesions need to be removed and analysed in a laboratory to check for cancerous or precancerous cells.

Your consultant may recommend an oral lesion excision if you have:

  • An oral lesion that doesn’t heal for more than two weeks
  • Numbness of your mouth or tongue
  • Changes to the roof or floor of your mouth
  • Difficulty eating or speaking due to your oral lesion

Oral lesions may have several causes including:

  • Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections
  • Stress
  • Sensitivity to irritants
  • Diseases such as lupus
  • Poor dental and oral hygiene
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Trauma
  • Cancer treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  • Cancer

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant oral or ENT surgeon, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the mouth, ears, nose, and throat.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, general health, and medical history. They will perform a thorough examination of your mouth, head, and neck.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is important as it’s where you first meet your consultant, the doctor responsible for your care. Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you, create a treatment plan and explain what will happen next.

Your first consultation is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about your treatment. We want you to be as well-informed and comfortable as possible during your time with us, so please discuss any questions or concerns with your consultant during your appointment.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide whether oral lesion excision is a suitable procedure for you based on your symptoms and physical examination.

You’ll be given clear instructions on how to prepare for your oral lesion excision. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You may not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation. Check with your healthcare team when you can eat or drink before your surgery.

H3: What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being as healthy as possible before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and help speed up your recovery.

Some things you can do to make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery include:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Oral lesion excision is normally performed under general anaesthetic, meaning you’ll be asleep during your operation. In some cases, it may be carried out under local anaesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the surgery but won’t feel any pain.

Your consultant or anaesthetist will discuss the type of anaesthetic with you before your procedure.

During oral lesion excision:

  • Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your consultant will use a scalpel or laser to remove your oral lesion and possibly some of the surrounding tissue
  • If needed, the area is closed with stitches
  • Medicine to control bleeding may be applied to the area where the lesion was removed
  • The area is packed with gauze bandages to control bleeding and reduce the risk of infection

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and what happened during your procedure.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

After your oral lesion excision, you can expect to have some bleeding, swelling and redness around the surgical area. These will resolve gradually over the next few days.

You may notice a yellow or white sloughy patch forming over your wound around a week after your surgery. This is normal. It will take about four weeks for your surgical wound to heal completely.

You may have some pain or discomfort for around a week after your procedure. Your consultant will prescribe medication to help manage any pain.

You may find it difficult to open your mouth fully for a few days after your surgery.

Before you are discharged, you’ll be given a follow-up appointment to check your progress and that your surgical wound is healing well. If a sample of tissue (biopsy) was sent to the laboratory, your healthcare team will let you know when you can expect the results.

Post-operative instructions

  • Do not rinse your mouth for 24 hours after your surgery as this can cause bleeding
  • Stick to soft foods and liquids for the first 24 hours after your surgery
  • Apply firm pressure to your surgical wound with clean gauze swabs to stop any bleeding
  • Your consultant may ask you to gargle with warm salty water a few times a day for a few days after your procedure
  • You can clean your teeth as normal after your surgery but take care around your surgical wound
  • Apply ice packs wrapped in a cloth or towel to the surgical area for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a day to help reduce swelling
  • Your consultant may advise you to sleep with your head and upper body elevated for the first few nights after your procedure to help reduce any swelling

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Oral lesion excision is normally performed as a day case meaning you’ll be able to go home the same day. In some cases, you may need to spend one night in hospital.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from the hospital after your oral lesion excision. Please arrange for someone to collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

How soon you can go back to work after your surgery depends on how you feel after your procedure and the type of job you do. Most people take a week or two off work after oral lesion excision.

How soon can I drive?

You can drive when you can safely control your vehicle and perform an emergency stop. Don’t drive while taking prescription painkillers or any other medication that may make you drowsy and affect your reaction times.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from surgery is a gradual process that is different for everyone. You can help your recovery to go more smoothly by going at your own pace and listening to your body. Follow your consultant’s post-operative instructions carefully and call the hospital if you have any questions or concerns.

Most people are well enough to return to normal daily activities within a week or two of oral lesion excision surgery.

As with all types of surgery, oral lesion excision carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have. Being well-informed about your procedure will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to oral lesion excision include:

  • Damage to the surrounding structures
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring
  • Your consultant may not be able to remove the entire lesion
  • Any cancer may spread or come back
  • The lesion may return
  • Poor wound healing

At Circle Health Group, we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about oral lesion excision, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2024. Next review due March 2027.

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