A lungbiopsy removes a small piece of lung tissue which can be looked at under a microscope. The biopsy can be done in four ways. The method used depends on where the sample will be taken from and your overall health.
Bronchoscopic biopsy. This type of biopsy uses a lighted instrument (bronchoscope) inserted through the mouth or nose and into the airway to remove a lung tissue sample. This method may be used if an infectious disease is suspected, if the abnormal lung tissue is located next to the breathing tubes (bronchi), or before trying more invasive methods, such as an open lung biopsy.
Needle biopsy. A needle biopsy uses a long needle inserted through the chest wall to remove a sample of lung tissue. This method is used if the abnormal lung tissue is located close to the chest wall. A computed tomography (CT) scan, an ultrasound, or fluoroscopy are usually used to guide the needle to the abnormal tissue.
Open biopsy. An open biopsy uses surgery to make a cut (incision) between the ribs and remove a sample of lung tissue. An open biopsy is usually done when the other methods of lung biopsy have not been successful, cannot be used, or when a larger piece of lung tissue is needed for a diagnosis.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). VATS uses a scope (called a thoracoscope) passed through a small incision in the chest to remove a sample of lung tissue.