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Open lung biopsy

Biopsy - open lung

An open lung biopsy is surgery to remove a small piece of tissue from the lung. The sample is then examined for cancer, infection, or lung disease.

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Lungs
Incision for lung biopsy

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How the Test is Performed

An open lung biopsy is done in the hospital using general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep and pain free. A tube will be placed through your mouth down your throat to help you breathe.

The surgery is done in the following way:

The breathing tube may not be able to be removed right after surgery. So, you may need to be on a breathing machine for some time.

How to Prepare for the Test

You should tell the health care provider if you are pregnant, allergic to any medicines, or if you have a bleeding problem. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take, including herbs, supplements, and those bought without a prescription.

Follow your surgeon's instructions for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

How the Test will Feel

When you wake up after the procedure, you will feel drowsy for several hours.

There will be some tenderness and pain where the surgical cut is located. Most surgeons inject a long-acting local anesthetic at the surgical cut site so that you will have very little pain afterward.

You may have a sore throat from the tube. You can ease the pain by eating ice chips.

Why the Test is Performed

The open lung biopsy is done to evaluate lung problems seen on x-ray or CT scan.

Normal Results

The lungs and lung tissue will be normal.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be due to:

The procedure may help diagnose a number of different conditions, such as:

Risks

There is a slight chance of:

Related Information

Lung needle biopsy
Cancer
Lung disease
X-ray
CT scan
Benign
Simple pulmonary eosinophilia
Disseminated tuberculosis
Solitary fibrous tumor
Malignant mesothelioma
Aspiration pneumonia
Lung cancer - small cell
Pulmonary tuberculosis
Rheumatoid lung disease
Sarcoidosis
Viral pneumonia
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Biopsy, site-specific - specimen. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:199-202.

Putnam JB. Lung, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 57.

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Review Date: 10/23/2018  

Reviewed By: Mary C. Mancini, MD, PhD, Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Christus Highland Medical Center, Shreveport, LA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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