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    Upper airway biopsy

    Biopsy - upper airway

    Upper airway biopsy is surgery in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the nose, mouth, and throat area for examination.

    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 flows 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 health care provider looks at the abnormal area, and removes a small piece of tissue. It is sent to the laboratory for examination.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    Do not eat for 6 - 12 hours before the test.

    Tell your health care provider if you take a blood thinner such as aspirin, plavix or coumadin when you schedule the biopsy. You may need to stop taking them for a little while. Never stop taking any medicines without first talking to your health care provider.

    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 done if your doctor thinks there is a problem with your upper airway. It may also be done with a bronchoscopy .

    Normal Results

    The upper airway tissues are normal, with no abnormal growths.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Disorders or conditions that may be discovered include:

    • Benign (noncancerous) cysts or masses
    • Cancer
    • Certain infections 
    • Granulomas and related inflammation (may be caused by tuberculosis)
    • Autoimmune disorders such as Wegner’s granulomatosis
    • Necrotizing vasculitis

    Risks

    • 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.

    References

    Yung RC, Boss EF. Tracheobronchial endoscopy. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 75.

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    • Upper airway test

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    • Bronchoscopy

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    • Throat anatomy

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      • Upper airway test

        illustration

      • Bronchoscopy

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      • Throat anatomy

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            Tests for Upper airway biopsy

            Review Date: 12/12/2012

            Reviewed By: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Associate Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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