Patients with high-grade dysplasia (severe or carcinoma-in-situ) generally have a higher chance for malignant transformation than those with lower-grade dysplasias.

It is extremely important that patients with oral epithelial dysplasia be followed by a specialist who is trained to manage these types of lesions. Eliminating high-risk behaviours and promoting protective behaviours (such as a healthy diet) are essential. Surgical removal of a premalignant lesion may or may not be warranted.

Regardless of removal, periodic close follow-up of the patient for any visual changes to the lesion site is critical because lesions can recur and transformation into a malignant lesion is possible at any time.​

Frequently Asked Questions

Oral Dysplasia is a microscopic diagnosis made after looking at a piece of the oral tissue (biopsy) under a microscope.

It means that there are premalignant changes that may progress to malignancy but there is no cancer.

​Not all dysplastic lesions undergo malignant transformation (i.e. turn into a cancer) but since we cannot predict which lesions will, they should all be treated and/or observed closely.

You should talk to your dentist and discuss any lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of transformation.

Not necessarily. It means that the tissue doesn’t look normal under the microscope, but it is not malignant.

It may stay at a dysplastic stage indefinitely without transforming into cancer. It may even go back to being completely normal.

Since it is almost impossible to predict which lesions will transform to cancer, all lesions should be followed by your dentist or a specialist. Avoiding high-risk behaviours such as use of tobacco/alcoholic beverages is essential.

Dr John McHugh plastic surgeon
About Dr McHugh

Dr John McHugh is Australia's only surgeon qualified in both Maxillofacial and Cosmetic surgery.

His dual specialisations enable him to deliver excellence in surgical results, with an eye for aesthetic beauty.

With over 20 years of experience as a surgeon in the private sector and performing international aid work as a Surgeon Commander with the Royal Australian Navy, you can have confidence that Dr McHugh is uniquely qualified and trusted to deliver the results you seek.