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Open Lung Biopsy

Definition

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.

Alternative Names

Biopsy - open lung

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 the 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.

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 the health care team which medications you are taking (including any herbal preparations).

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.

Why the test is performed

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

Normal Values

The lungs and lung tissue will be normal.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results may indicate:

  • Benign tumors
  • Cancer
  • Certain infections
  • Lung diseases

The procedure may also help diagnose a number of different conditions.

What the risks are

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.

Review Date: 10/10/2008

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Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Medical Center. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.