What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients who have leukoplakia?

Anyone who has leukoplakia should follow up with a doctor every three to six months, with biopsies as needed, to watch for possible changes in the condition.

Even if patches are surgically removed, an examination every six to 12 months is recommended, because leukoplakia frequently returns. Treatment sites that remain free of abnormalities for three years may not need to be observed any more.

If leukoplakia returns after treatment, you should continue to have follow-up examinations for as long as your healthcare provider recommends.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/05/2020.


  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Leukoplakia. Accessed 8/4/2020.
  • World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer. A digital manual for the early diagnosis of oral neoplasia. Leukoplakia. Accessed 8/4/2020.
  • Canadian Cancer Society. Precancerous conditions of the mouth. Accessed 8/4/2020.
  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Leukoplakia. Accessed 8/4/2020.

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