A needle biopsy of the lung or pleura is done to remove a sample of lung or pleural tissue or fluid. Pleura is the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Once the tissue is removed, it will be examined in a lab.
This procedure is used to diagnose abnormal tissue in or around the lung. Possible reasons for abnormal tissue are:
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a needle biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Make sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Your doctor may order:
Leading up to your procedure, do not start taking any new medicines without consulting your doctor.
You may be given pre-procedure medicines for certain conditions (eg, to suppress a cough).
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. You will be in a seated position, leaning forward, with your arms resting on a table for support. You should remain as still as possible. An ultrasound or CT scan will be used to locate the exact area.
A small cut will be made in your skin. Then, while you hold your breath, the biopsy needle will be inserted through the cut. The needle will be passed between your ribs until it reaches the lung or pleura. Your doctor then withdraws some cells through the biopsy needle. The needle will be withdrawn. Pressure will be put on the site of the incision. When the bleeding stops, a bandage will be applied.
Between 30-60 minutes
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Ask your doctor when to expect the results of the biopsy.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Lung Association
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6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 03/15/2013