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Dental and Oral Health (Seniors)

Repeat biopsy of lichen planus



My 73 yo mother was diagnosed with lichen planus (tongue biopsy) 15 years ago. It has never gone away. Her dentist wants a repeat biopsy. She is very upset about this and I`m wondering if it`s necessary. She says it hasn`t changed. It gets worse when she`s on antibiotics, which she`s on frequently for asthma/chronic sinus problems. She also takes ativan, which I read can aggravate the condition. I`m trying to balance the need for another biopsy with her increasing anxiety over the procedure. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.


There are two types of lichen planus:

1. Benign and non-erosive

2. Erosive

There is a very small chance for the erosive type to change into a pre-malignant condition. Therefore, if the condition is determined to be of the erosive type, a biopsy might be necessary to rule out pre-malignancy.

My suggestion is that you check with the nearest Medical Center-preferably a school of Dentistry, where they will have a department of Oral Medicine/ Oral Pathology.

For more information:

Go to the Dental and Oral Health (Seniors) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Abdel Rahim   Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD Abdel Rahim Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD
Clinical Professor of Geriatrics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University