Biopsy and diagnostic histopathology in dental practice in Brisbane: usage patterns and perceptions of usefulness

Aust Dent J. 2010 Jun;55(2):162-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2010.01210.x.


Background: Biopsy procedures and diagnostic histopathology are rarely used by general dental practitioners (GDPs) compared with dental specialists. The aim of this study was to investigate the usage patterns and views of GDPs and specialists in Brisbane on these procedures.

Methods: An analysis was carried out on 1027 oral biopsy accessions at a private pathology laboratory. A survey was distributed to 200 GDPs and dental specialists inquiring about their use of and views on biopsy and diagnostic histopathology. An analysis was carried out on 327 and 95 biopsies performed at a private oral medicine practice and at the University of Queensland School of Dentistry, respectively.

Results: The majority (76.2%) of GDPs surveyed referred all oral lesions requiring biopsy to a specialist, rather than undertaking biopsy themselves. Although most GDPs recognized the importance of biopsy, a large proportion (58.1%) did not feel competent in undertaking the procedure due to concerns of inadequate experience and practical skills.

Conclusions: Many dental practitioners believe that GDPs should be able to undertake simple biopsies of benign lesions, however more undergraduate and postgraduate training in biopsy and diagnostic histopathology is necessary to promote a greater use of these procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Biopsy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Dentists*
  • Endodontics / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • General Practice, Dental / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oral Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Otolaryngology / statistics & numerical data
  • Pathology, Oral
  • Pediatric Dentistry / statistics & numerical data
  • Periodontics / statistics & numerical data
  • Polyps / pathology
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Queensland
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Specialties, Dental / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgery, Oral / statistics & numerical data