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Lung Biopsy

How It Is Done continued...

Your doctor will then make a small puncture and ask you to hold your breath while the biopsy needle is inserted into your lung. It is very important to avoid coughing or moving while the needle is in your chest.

Once the desired amount of tissue is collected, the needle is removed and a bandage is placed over the puncture site. You will need to lie on your side for at least an hour to allow the needle puncture site to seal up.

This biopsy takes about 30 to 60 minutes. You will be in the recovery room 1 to 2 hours. A chest X-ray is usually taken after a lung biopsy to look for any problems related to the biopsy.

Open biopsy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)

An open biopsy is done by a chest (thoracic) surgeon or a general surgeon. You will be given a general anesthetic by an anesthesiologist. There may also be one or more assistants in the room.

You will be given a sedative to help you relax about an hour before the biopsy. You will have an intravenous line (IV) placed in a vein. A tube will be placed in your windpipe (trachea) and a machine will help you breathe.

An incision is made between the ribs over the area of lung where the tissue sample is to be collected. A scope called a thoracoscope may be passed through this incision to view the surface of the lung and to remove a sample of lung tissue. A larger incision will be made if an open biopsy is needed to remove a tissue sample.

After the tissue sample is collected, your doctor will insert a drainage tube (chest tube camera.gif) into the area and close the incision with stitches. One end of the tube will be in the space next to your lung and the other end will be sticking out of your chest and connected to a collection container. The chest tube helps re-expand your lung. The chest tubes will be removed when the drainage from your chest has stopped and no air is leaking from your chest incision, usually in a few days. Your stitches will be removed in 7 to 14 days.

The entire biopsy usually takes about an hour. After the lung biopsy is done, you will be taken to the recovery room for about an hour. You will then be taken to your hospital room.

Recovery from a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) takes less time than from an open biopsy surgery.

A chest X-ray is usually taken after a lung biopsy to look for any problems related to the biopsy.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) may not be available in your area. You may need to travel to a regional medical center for this test.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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