Skip to content

    Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

    Font Size

    Lung Biopsy

    How It Is Done continued...

    A needle biopsy is done by a doctor who specializes in X-ray tests (radiologist) or a pulmonologist. Your doctor will use a CT scan, ultrasound, or fluoroscopy to guide the biopsy needle. The place where your doctor inserts the needle is cleaned first with an antiseptic solution and draped with sterile towels. Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic to keep you from feeling any pain when the needle is inserted into your chest.

    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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    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.

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.

    chest x-ray
    Bronchitis Overview
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    Energy Boosting Foods

    woman coughing
    Lung xray and caduceus