Lung Biopsy

Lung Biopsy at Park Hill Hospital

What is a lung biopsy?

A lung biopsy is a procedure performed to remove a tissue sample from one of your lungs for examination under a microscope to determine if lung disease or cancer is present.

There are several types of lung biopsy:

  • Needle biopsy – under local anaesthetic and using CT or fluoroscopy guidance a needle is inserted through your skin into your lung to the suspected tumour. The needle removes a small amount of tissue for testing in a laboratory. It is also known as a percutaneous needle biopsy.
  • Bronchoscopy and biopsy – under local anaesthetic and sedation a long, thin tube with a tiny camera, called a bronchoscope, is placed down your throat. It passes through your windpipe and down into the main airways of the lungs. It is performed if a CT scan shows you may have cancer in the central part of your chest. A bronchoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your airways and remove a small biopsy sample of cells.
    • Endobronchial ultrasound scan (EBUS) – is a newer procedure that combines bronchoscopy with an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound probe also allows your doctor to locate the lymph nodes in the centre of your chest and take a biopsy from them. It can show if cancerous cells are there and what type they are.
    • Thoracoscopic biopsy – usually under general anaesthetic, two or three small cuts are made in your chest to pass a flexible and lighted endoscope tube into your chest. Biopsy samples are taken using tiny tools used through the endoscope and sent to a laboratory. This is also called a thoracoscopy or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) biopsy. Treatment can be performed at the same time such as removing a nodule. You may need to stay in the hospital overnight while any fluid in your lungs is drained.
    • Open biopsy - under general anaesthetic a cut is made near your chest cavity to retrieve a lung sample such as a wedge or a lobe of your lung. It is performed if other biopsy procedures have failed to get a large enough sample to obtain a diagnosis. You will stay overnight in the hospital after an open biopsy.
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