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Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

Lake Charles Oral & Facial Surgery manages a wide variety of pathology associated with the oral cavity, face and neck. Patients are often referred by their dentist or physician for management of soft or hard tissue abnormalities. Soft tissue lesions generally involve ulcers, patches, bumps, and discoloration on the gums, lips, cheek, tongue, skin of the face and neck or salivary glands. Hard tissue pathology encompasses alterations in teeth or bone.

Abnormal changes in the mouth typically are detected early as the oral cavity is readily accessible. Tissue changes do not always mean cancer, but certainly need to be evaluated promptly to determine the etiology. Performing self-examinations regularly is encouraged to aid in early recognition. The things to evaluate when performing self-examinations are:

  • White or red patches
  • Sore that fails to heal
  • Friable tissue that bleeds easily
  • Lump or thickening of the tissues
  • Moles or ulcerations of the skin

Many lesions associated with the soft tissue can be excised and sampled through a biopsy. Hard tissue lesions often are cysts associated with the development or eruption of impacted teeth or an abated attempt at tooth formation. These lesions are often unrecognized until a radiograph sheds light on their existence. A consultation provides an opportunity to review the history (onset, changes, previous treatment), examine the suspicious area and review treatment options.

A biopsy is an office procedure that involves the removal of the suspicious tissue either in entirety or a representative sample. The specimens are placed in preservative and sent to a general pathologist or an oral and maxillofacial pathologist for microscopic examination. Lake Charles Oral & Facial Surgery LLC utilizes the pathology services at The Medical Laboratory, The Pathology Laboratory and The LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans. The biopsy report provides a diagnosis and enables us to create a prompt and focused treatment plan based on the findings. The treatment plan may range from routine interval observation to additional treatment. Biopsy results are typically returned in 1 week and patients are notified as soon as it is available. A follow up examination is traditionally scheduled to both evaluate healing and review the pathology diagnosis and prognosis.

Slowly growing mass of the right palate

Cancer of the Oral Cavity

Our Doctors also treat malignant pathology of the face, oral cavity and salivary glands however, cancer treatment often requires referral to a major teaching facility for treatment of complex cases. Our office can facilitate and coordinate treatment if referral to one of these facilities is required. Lake Charles Oral & Facial Surgery LLC refers patients to the University of Texas/MD Anderson Treatment Center in Houston, Texas and LSU Health Sciences Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana

Leukoplakia(white patch) of the cheek from chronic tobacco use

Cancer of the lateral portion of the tongue


In cases of severe facial and/or neck trauma or in the case of a large tumor of the mouth or throat, a tracheostomy may be necessary. Tracheostomy is an operative procedure that creates a surgical airway in the cervical trachea (a hole in the neck into the windpipe). The traditional semantic difference between tracheostomy and tracheotomy is blurred in this instance because the hole is variably permanent. If a cannula is in place, an unsutured opening heals into a patent stoma within a week. If decannulation is performed (ie, the tracheostomy cannula is removed), the hole usually closes in a similar amount of time. The cut edges of the tracheal opening can be sutured to the skin with a few absorbable sutures to facilitate cannulation and, if necessary, recannulation; alternatively, a permanent stoma can be created with circumferential sutures. The term tracheostomy is used, by convention, for all these procedures and is considered to be synonymous with tracheotomy.


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