What Is the Lung Biopsy Recovery Process?


Quick Answer

The recovery process for a lung biopsy varies depending what type of biopsy is done and what type of anesthesia is used, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Often, the patient is monitored until blood pressure, pulse and breathing stabilize, then allowed to return home the same day with specific instructions.

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Full Answer

There are four types of lung biopsies that may be performed: a needle biopsy, a transbronchial biopsy, a thorocoscopic biopsy or an open biopsy, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Recovery from a needle biopsy may involve soreness at the site for a few days, which is relieved with medication. Specific instruction for showering or strenuous activity are given by the doctor according to each patients situation. Recovery after a transbronchial biopsy often involves a sore throat, and the patient is not allowed to eat or drink until numbness goes away and the gag reflex returns. Patients are commonly given an X-ray after a lung biopsy to insure that the puncture wound has closed and the lung is inflating properly.

A thorocoscopic biopsy involves inserting an endoscope through the chest wall, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is commonly referred to as video-assisted thoracic surgery, or VATS. Recovery from this procedure is often longer and requires a hospital stay, as lung tissue, tumors and nodes may be removed. An open biopsy is a surgical procedure as well, and it requires the patient to stay in the hospital. After VATS or open biopsy surgery, recovery involves wound care and pain management. A chest tube is sometimes required, according to MedlinePlus.

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