• Vol. 28 No. 5, 665–671
  • 15 September 1999

A 5-Year Survey of Oral Biopsies in an Oral Surgical Unit in Singapore: 1993-1997



A survey of oral biopsies performed in an oral surgical centre in Singapore from 1993 to 1997 was carried out to determine the relative frequency of oral pathologies encountered. A total of 2057 reports were reviewed, of which 1986 separate diagnoses were counted. The great majority of patients were Asian. The 20 most common diagnoses were: fibrous epulis (10.3%), periapical granuloma (8.8%), mucocele (8.6%), radicular cyst (7.6%), lichen planus (5.7%), mucosal inflammation (3.6%), squamous cell carcinoma (3.5%), granulation tissue (3.3%), fibrous hyperplasia (3.1%), keratosis (3.1%), pyogenic granuloma (2.6%), keratocyst (2.4%), osteomyelitis (2.3%), dentigerous cyst (2.3%), dental follicle (1.9%), non-specific ulcer (1.8%), ameloblastoma (1.8%), papilloma (1.5%), odontoma (1.5%) and residual cyst (1.3%). Oral malignancies accounted for 5.2% of all diagnoses, with squamous cell carcinoma (67.0% of malignancies) as the most common malignancy. Odontogenic cysts made up 14.9% of all specimens, with radicular cysts (50.7% of odontogenic cysts) being most common. Non-odontogenic cysts comprised 0.5% of all biopsies. Odontogenic tumours accounted for 5.0% of all diagnoses, with ameloblastoma as the most common tumour (35.0%). Similar surveys in the literature were reviewed. The relative frequency of some conditions appear to be higher than in other studies, including squamous cell carcinoma, odontogenic keratocysts and ameloblastomas.

There are a variety of pathological conditions that present in the oral cavity. While clinical and radiographic examination will suggest a provisional diagnosis, histological examination is often required to confirm or exclude a suspected diagnosis.

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