Diseases & Conditions

Biopsy of the Tongue - Tongue Biopsy

Overview & Description

In a tongue biopsy, a small piece of tissue is taken from the tongue for study in the laboratory.

Who is a candidate for the test?

This test is done to help diagnose disorders of the tongue. These include cancer and other unusual lesions or abnormal growths.

How is the test performed?

A tongue biopsy may be done in a doctor's office or in the hospital. The area of the tongue to be biopsied is cleaned and injected with a local anesthetic. When the area is numb, the biopsy sample may be removed by a small needle or by cutting a small piece of the tongue. The sample is then sent to the laboratory to be studied.

Preparation & Expectations

What is involved in preparation for the test?

A person should request specific instructions from his or her healthcare provider. Generally, no preparation is required.

Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

Normal tongue tissue appears healthy and has no disease present within it. Abnormal results may indicate a cancer of the tongue, or other diseases.


Author:David T. Moran, MD
Date Written:
Editor:Smith, Mary Ellen, BS
Edit Date:04/13/00
Reviewer:Adam Brochert, MD
Date Reviewed:09/20/01