Transthoracic needle aspiration; Percutaneous needle aspiration
A lung needle biopsy is a method to remove a piece of lung tissue for examination. If it is done through the wall of your chest, it is called a transthoracic lung biopsy.
You sit with your arms resting forward on a table. You should try to keep still and not cough during the biopsy. The doctor will ask you to hold your breath. The skin is scrubbed and a local pain-killing medicine (anesthetic) is injected.
The physician will make a small (about 1/8-inch) cut in the skin, and will insert the biopsy needle into the abnormal tissue, tumor, or lung tissue. A small piece of tissue is removed with the needle and sent to a laboratory for examination.
When the biopsy is done, pressure is placed over the site. Once bleeding has stopped, a bandage is applied.
A chest x-ray is taken immediately after the biopsy.
The procedure usually takes 30 - 60 minutes. Laboratory analysis usually takes a few days.
You should not eat for 6 - 12 hours before the test. Your health care provider will likely tell you to avoid aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, or blood thinners such as warfarin for a period of time before the procedure. Always check with your health care provider before changing or stopping any medications.
Before a needle biopsy of the lung, a chest x-ray or chest CT scan may be performed. Sometimes, you will be given a mild sedative before the biopsy to relax you. You must sign a consent form. It is important to remain as still as possible for the biopsy and avoid coughing.
You will receive an injection of anesthetic before the biopsy. This injection will sting for a moment. You will feel pressure and a brief, sharp pain when the needle touches the lung.
A lung needle biopsy is performed when there is an abnormal condition near the surface of the lung, in the lung itself, or on the chest wall. Most often, it is done to rule out cancer. The biopsy is usually performed after abnormalities appear on chest x-ray or CT scan.
Ettinger DS. Lung cancer and other pulmonary neoplasms. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 201.
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