Most of us have heard of the term “biopsy”. This is a surgical procedure where a sample of tissue is surgically removed. Its composition will be examined to determine the presence or extent of disease. It is considered the gold standard in our diagnostic arsenal.

Very often, when an abnormal sample of tissue persists for more than 2 weeks, a biopsy may be warranted. We conduct excisional (removal of the entire subject tissue) and incisional (removing part of the subject tissue) biopsies at Lux Dental. This procedure is routine at our Quincy, Cambridge, and Saugus locations.

In this case, the patient reports a bump that has been present on her lower lip for several years.  It “irritates” her. She reports that she “plays” with it.

The mass is rubbery to touch, is of the same color as the surrounding tissue. Upon examination, the mass has a very regular margin. It is smooth and does not cause any pain to the patient upon palpation.

Preliminarily, our diagnosis is that of an irritation fibroma. This is a concentration of fibrous connective tissue. It is likely caused by an extrinsic irritant. An irritant could be a sharp tooth, poorly fitting denture, or even spaces between teeth. A fibroma is a benign condition.

Due to its “irritating” nature, an excisional biopsy was proposed. Traditionally, I would remove such tissue with a scalpel. I would then place a single suture. Healing would require up to two weeks. However, lasers have made such procedures efficient. Under local anesthetic, utilizing a 7-Watt laser, the mass was removed in less than 10 minutes. Healing was complete in less than 1 week. Suture placement was unnecessary.

The tissue was submitted to StrataDx in Lexington Massachusetts. The diagnosis of fibroma was confirmed.

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