How the Test is Performed
An open lung biopsy is done in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia, which means you are asleep and pain-free. A tube will be placed through your mouth and into the airway that leads to the lungs.
After cleaning the skin, the surgeon makes a cut in the chest area and removes a small piece of lung tissue. The wound is closed with stitches.
A chest tube may be left in place for 1 - 2 days to prevent the lung from collapsing.
Today, most centers use a technique called video-assisted thoracoscopy, which uses a camera and tiny instruments to biopsy the lung. With this method, only two small cuts are made. There is much less pain and the recovery is much faster.
How to Prepare for the Test
You should tell the health care provider if you are pregnant, allergic to any medications, and if you have a bleeding problem. Be sure to tell your doctors and nurses about all the medicines you take, including herbs, supplements, and those bought without a prescription.
You will be asked not to eat or drink for 8 to 12 hours before the procedure.
How the Test Will Feel
When you wake up after the procedure, you will feel drowsy for several hours. You may have a mild sore throat from the tube. You will feel some discomfort and pain at the site of the biopsy.
The lungs and lung tissue will be normal.
There is a possibility of infection or an air leak into the chest. Your risk depends on whether or not you already have lung disease.
Biopsy - open lung
- Aspiration pneumonia
- CT scan
- Disseminated tuberculosis
- Lung cancer - small cell
- Lung disease
- Lung needle biopsy
- Mesothelioma - benign-fibrous
- Mesothelioma - malignant
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Rheumatoid lung disease
- Simple pulmonary eosinophilia
- Viral pneumonia
- Wegener’s granulomatosis
Update Date 12/10/2012
Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.