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Oral Surgery/lip biopsy for sjorgrens

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Question
In early April 2013, I had a lip biopsy done at Mayo Clinic to rule out Sjorgrens - about l/4" area to the right of center now feels numb/but with intense burning pain and it is now November 2013.  I called Mayo Clinic and the ENT doctor who performed the surgery said to take 300 mg. of alpha lipoic acid 2 times per day and to call back in a month.  I have called her 3 times now and she won't return my calls.  She also suggested that I might want to consider taking Effexor, Gabapentin or possibly get a cortosterioid shot in the site.  I live too far away from Rochester, MN to go and see her.  I have seen an ENT doctor locally - he won't touch me - says I need to go back to her - also have seen an oral surgeon locally and he won't help me.  Why is this happening - will the pain subside eventually, if so, how long - feeling really hopeless about this situation - please help me.

Answer
Mary -  Of course, without directly examining you I cannot be sure, but during the biopsy, the ENT doctor most likely cut some nerves in the area.  Usually, if only the edges of the nerves were traumatized or cut, the numbness resolves fairly quickly within a few months.  The fact hat it has now lasted for 7 months may mean that the nerves were more aggressively traumatized or cut by the doctor.  Will the numbness and burning sensations resolve?  That is a difficult situation to predict.  It is definitely appropriate to attempt to heal the nerves with the alpha lipoic acid or the other medications to stimulate the nerve healing.  it might not be a bad idea to get an evaluation from a neurologist near you.  I wish I could tell you that the situation will completely resolve, but that is very difficult to predict when the sensations have lasted this long.  

So get an objective evaluation from a neurologist near where you live.  I hope it gets back to normal soon.  Something I have tried on patients with similar situations is to suggest warm moist applications to the area with a warm moist washcloth for a few minutes a few times a day.  The warm moist treatment increases the blood flow to the region and might speed the healing.  

I really wish you well and hope you feel better soon.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.

Experience

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

Organizations
American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Education/Credentials
BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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