Over the past nine years I have had nineteen procedures in relation to mouth cancer, around two thirds of these were biopsies and more often than not several areas were involved. No one would describe these events as a pleasant way of spending the odd hour or so and in this I am no exception. In my experience the most unpleasant part is the aftermath,the discomfort caused by stitches.One or two stitches can be an inconvenience but the inconvenience is multiplied exponentially when several sites are involved in various parts of the mouth.
Yesterday I attended the oncology clinic at Pinderfields for number nineteen;during the preamble before the procedure I asked if it would be possible to limit the number of stitches, this was discussed and it was decided to cauterise the wounds rather than use stitches. This worked very well except for the lump under the tongue which involved a wound covering almost a quarter of the area of the underside, cauterising alone was insufficient and three stitches were required in addition.The other four areas responded satisfactorily, the time to cauterise was significantly less than stitching and was less of an inconvenience. Today I have a little residual soreness but that is all, I don't feel as though I have barbed wire in my mouth which is normally the result of multiple stitching. Today I have been able to eat normally whereas previously there was always the danger ,and often the reality, of stitches dragging.
I will certainly ask for this technique to be used in future and would suggest that anyone requiring a biopsy might benefit from discussing the possibility beforehand.