Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor or dermatologist makes a diagnosis of oral lichen planus based on your symptoms, a careful examination of the abnormalities in your mouth and, if necessary, the results of lab tests. These tests may include:

  • Biopsy. Your doctor may take a small tissue sample from one or more lesions in your mouth. The tissue is examined under a microscope to identify a typical pattern of T lymphocytes consistent with a diagnosis of oral lichen planus. Other more specialized microscopic tests may be needed to identify profiles of immune system proteins commonly associated with the disorder.
  • Cultures. Using a cotton swab to take a sample of cells from your mouth and then examining the sample under a microscope can reveal whether you have a secondary fungal, bacterial or viral infection.
  • Blood tests. These may be done to rule out conditions such as hepatitis C, which may rarely be associated with oral lichen planus, and lupus, which may look similar to oral lichen planus.
  • Allergy tests. Your doctor may refer you to an allergy specialist (allergist) or dermatologist for skin patch testing to identify agents to which you may be allergic and that may act as triggers for your condition.
Mar. 08, 2013