A New Tool For Oral Mucosal Examination

The VELscope® System is a revolutionary hand-held device that provides dentists, hygienists, and other oral health care professionals with an easy-to-use adjunctive mucosal examination system for the early detection of abnormal tissue. It is based on the direct visualization of tissue fluorescence and the changes in fluorescence that occur when abnormalities are present. The VELscope® System Handpiece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the tissue from the surface of the epithelium through to the basement membrane and into the stroma beneath, causing it to fluoresce. The clinician is then able to immediately view the different fluorescence responses to help differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue. In fact, the VELscope® System is the only adjunctive device cleared by the FDA to help discover oral mucosal lesions that might not be apparent or visible to the naked eye and to help surgeons determine the appropriate surgical margin for tumor excision. Under examination with the VELscope® System, abnormal tissue typically appears as an irregular, dark area that stands out against the otherwise normal, green fluorescence pattern of surrounding healthy tissue.

We Care…And We Can Help
Our practice has purchased a state-of-the art device called the VELscope® Oral Cancer Screening System. Along with our conventional oral screening exam, which includes looking inside your mouth for any lesions that might be visible to the naked eye and feeling your neck for any suspicious bumps, we can use the VELscope to literally see beneath the surface to detect potentiallydangerous growths we might have otherwise missed.                                                          

 

The VELscope exam takes about two minutes as part of a regular hygiene check-up, involves no pain or inconvenience, and is completely safe. We think you will find the additional cost for this exam to be very reasonable, and it might be that the cost will be covered by your insurance company. We think you’ll appreciate the peace-of-mind this screening can provide.

Below are some pictures of the types of things we may see with the VELscope. The pictures on the left are under normal white light while the pictures on the right are the same areas viewed through the VELscope.

The picture above show the side of a normal healthy tongue.

The above picture shows dysplasia on the underside of the tongue. Dysplasia can be a pre-cancerous condition.

The picture above shows a carcinoma in situ (CIS) which is a serious form of oral cancer.

What If We Find Something?

In most cases, the VELscope exam will indicate that there is nothing to worry about. However, it is possible that some suspicious areas could be revealed. In that case, it could very well be that the suspicious-looking area is of little or no concern, such as if it is caused by chewing the inside of your cheek or by irritation from dentures or braces. If necessary, we may ask you to come back in a few weeks so that we may take another look. If the area has improved in the meantime, we’ll know that oral cancer was not involved. If the area has not improved, we will recommend further exams, which may include a biopsy that can be evaluated by an oral pathologist. In the unlikely event that the biopsy reveals cancerous or pre-cancerous tissues, you will be referred for appropriate treatment. Fortunately, the survival rate for oral cancer discovered at early stages is extremely high. That is why it is so important that you have an oral cancer screening once a year, or twice a year if you smoke or chew tobacco. And it’s also why we have invested in this new technology.

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