The development and implementation of a biopsy safety strategy for oral medicine

Key Points

  • Enlightens the reader as to the potential risks associated with oral mucosal biopsies.

  • Demonstrate methods to mitigate the potential risks associated with oral mucosal biopsies.

  • Recommends review of biopsy safety.


The development and implementation of a biopsy safety strategy is described in this article. Analysis of previous adverse incidents relating to biopsies acted as a catalyst to review our biopsy pathway at Liverpool University Dental Hospital. Input from all staff involved enabled us to develop a biopsy safety strategy which was divided into five stages: preoperative assessment of patient and procedure, team briefings, biopsy surgical safety checklist, surgical removal and handling of biopsy specimens, and post-biopsy follow-up. It is hoped that other clinical teams will take the opportunity to review their own biopsy processes, in the light of our experience.

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The authors would like to thank the following members of staff for their advice and support in writing this paper:

Asterios Triantafyllou – Honorary Consultant/ Senior Lecturer in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool University Dental Hospital

Avril Macpherson – Clinical Director/ Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Special Care Dentistry, Liverpool University Dental Hospital

Margaret Titherington – Matron, RDN, Liverpool University Dental Hospital

Carla Sudell – Medical Secretary, Liverpool University Dental Hospital

All staff within the Oral Medicine Department at Liverpool University Dental Hospital

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Correspondence to E. A. Field.

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Finn, D., Rajlawat, B., Holt, D. et al. The development and implementation of a biopsy safety strategy for oral medicine. Br Dent J 223, 667–673 (2017).

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