How Is a Lung Biopsy Done?


A lung biopsy involves removing lung tissue and examining it using a microscope, according to WebMD. Lung biopsies can be performed through open surgery, with a needle, using a bronchoscope or with a thoracoscope.

In a lung needle biopsy, the doctor inserts computed tomography- or fluoroscopy-guided needle through the chest to take a tissue sample. A fiber-optic bronchoscope, or a small telescope placed in the lung's airways, is used in transbronchial biopsy. A thoracoscopic biopsy consists in inserting an endoscope equipped with other biopsy tools through the chest wall. A small cut is made in the tissue between the ribs in an open surgery biopsy. A hospital stay is usually required for this surgical procedure, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Lung biopsies are required when a CT scan or chest x-ray reveals an abnormality; to diagnose lung disease or infections; and to determine if a lung abnormality is benign or malignant. Open lung biopsies such as thoracoscopic biopsy or open surgery biopsy present some risks during the procedure, including severe bleeding, blood clots and infections. Complications of needle or transbronchial biopsies include infection and bleeding, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After having a bronchoscopic biopsy, patients may experience mild fevers, which typically go away after 24 hours, states WebMD.