Can you use a lip biopsy to diagnose Sjogren’s Disease? Should you?

In this “Diagnosing Sjogren’s Disease” blog post series, I’ve discussed several methods used to form a diagnosis for Sjogren’s Disease. None of them, alone, can be used for diagnosis, but several of them together are how we do form a diagnosis. Getting an inner lip biopsy to evaluate your salivary glands is one of the best tests (most specific) to aid in a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Getting an inner lip biopsy to evaluate your salivary glands is one of the best tests (most specific) to aid in a diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome.

Getting an inner lip biopsy to evaluate your salivary glands is one of the best tests (most specific) to aid in a diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Approximately one thousand minor salivary glands line the inside of your mouth and swallowing passages. A minor salivary gland biopsy removes a very small portion (less than 10) of your minor salivary glands from the inside of your lower lip. In Sjogren’s Disease, these glands typically have chronic inflammation and are infiltrated with white blood cells (WBCs) called lymphocytes. This is what you would expect to see on the biopsy if Sjogren’s disease is present.

A minor salivary gland biopsy for Sjögren's Disease typically shows specific clusters of inflammatory cells.

A minor salivary gland biopsy for Sjögren’s Disease typically shows specific clusters of inflammatory cells.

Alternatively, other findings from the lip biopsy or lack thereof can help diagnose and rule out conditions such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, and lymphoma. People with Sjogren’s disease are at an increased risk for lymphoma so this is a great screening measure for them.

People with Sjögren's Disease have an increased risk of developing Lymphoma, which can be identified through lip biopsy.

People with Sjögren’s Disease have an increased risk of developing Lymphoma, which can be identified through lip biopsy.

To sum things up Sjogren’s Disease can not be diagnosed with just one simple test. It’s a combination of eye tests/symptoms, oral symptoms/tests, blood work and/or lip biopsy results that are used to formulate a diagnosis. If you suspect you have Sjogren’s Disease then talk to your medical providers about it. You can also find more information on the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation website.

Sjögrens Disease can not be diagnosed with just one test.

Sjögrens Disease can not be diagnosed with just one test.

Share your experience with Sjogren’s Disease on my Facebook Like Page and be sure to join my private online Facebook support group.

Barbara Grubbs, Nurse Practitioner

Click here for lab tests used to help diagnosis Sjogren’s Disease.

To see how my journey to diagnosis Sjogren’s began click here.

Click here to find out how to diagnosis the dry mouth symptoms of Sjogren’s Disease.

Click here to find out how to diagnosis the dry eye symptoms of Sjogren’s Disease.

 

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