A biopsy is a test done to remove a sample of tissue from the body so it can be examined. A lung biopsy is a test to take a small piece of a lung. This is done with a special biopsy needle. Or it’s done during surgery. The biopsy is done to look for lung disease, cancer, or another condition.
There are several types of lung biopsy:
A lung biopsy may be done to:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to advise a lung biopsy.
The type of biopsy done will depend on several factors. These may include your general health, the type of lung problem, and where the problem is in the lung.
All tests have some risks.
The risks of an open lung biopsy may include:
The risks of a needle or transbronchial lung biopsy may include:
Your risks may vary depending on your general health and other factors. Ask your healthcare provider which risks apply most to you. Talk with him or her about any concerns you have.
Your healthcare provider will explain the test to you. Ask him or her any questions you have. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the test. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if anything is not clear.
Tell your healthcare provider if you:
Make sure to:
You may have blood tests or other tests or exams before the test. Your healthcare provider will tell you more.
You may have your test as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day. Or it may be done as part of a longer stay in the hospital. The way the test is done may vary. It depends on your condition and your healthcare provider's methods. In most cases, a lung biopsy will start like this:
After the test, you will spend some time in a recovery room. You may be sleepy and confused when you wake up from general anesthesia or sedation. Your healthcare team will watch your vital signs, such as your heart rate and breathing. You’ll be given pain medicine if you need it.
A chest X-ray may be done right after the biopsy and repeated in a few hours. This is to make sure your lungs are okay. After a transbronchial lung biopsy, you may be told to gently cough up and spit your saliva into a basin. This is so a nurse can check your secretions for blood.
If your biopsy was done using a bronchoscope, you may have some throat discomfort. You will not be allowed to eat or drink until your gag reflex has returned. You may notice some throat soreness and pain with swallowing for a few days. This is normal. Using throat lozenges or gargle may help.
If you had an outpatient test, you will go home when your healthcare provider says it’s OK. Someone will need to drive you home.
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for several days. Follow all the instructions your healthcare provider gives you for wound care and bathing. You can take pain medicine as advised by your healthcare provider. Aspirin and certain other pain medicines may increase bleeding. Make sure to take only the medicines your healthcare provider advises.
At home, you can go back to your normal diet and activities if instructed by your healthcare provider. You may need to not do strenuous physical activity for a few days.
Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the below:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the test.