Recovery Period of Open and VATS Lung Biopsy

By Niki | September 8, 2011

Lung biopsy recovery varies according to the kind of biopsy procedure conducted. In a bronchoscope or needle biopsy procedure, the patient is allowed to go home after four hours. The patient may experience some coughing up of blood after either procedure. In the case of an open biopsy, the patient may experience weakness and wooziness because of the local anesthesia and pain at the site of incision. Sutures are removed after two weeks.

After a needle biopsy, the patient is allowed to rest for two hours so that there’s no bleeding. The patient is also kept under observation and checked upon every two hours. If the patient shows no sign of discomfort, they are discharged after 4 hours. The person can resume their normal routine thereafter. During the lung biopsy recovery period, the patient should not do any heavy work and should take ample rest for a couple of days.

A surgical biopsy is required if initial tests conducted on a lung tissue sample are inconclusive in the case of lung disease. An incision is made on the chest wall to remove a part of the diseased lung. This procedure performed under general anesthesia, and it is also called a thoracotomy or open lung biopsy. Post surgery, a “chest tube” is placed in the incision to drain off trapped air, blood, or excess fluid. The tube also helps the lungs from collapsing. Open lung biopsy recovery period depends on the patient’s state and type of biopsy performed. The patient needs to stay for three or four days once the biopsy is over. In the case of a rare lung complication, the patient may require a longer stay. Lung biopsy recovery time is between four to six weeks.

Why is a VATS Surgery Performed?

Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery or VATS is performed to rule out or grade nodules or lesions in the lungs and chest cavity. The procedure, a very minor surgery under general anesthesia, is performed through a small incision in the chest with the assistance of a video camera attached to a thin thorascope. After the procedure, the patient is on oxygen and wheeled into a ward. Chest tubes are fixed and his/her vital signs are monitored. The patient is usually discharged the very next day. He/she is prescribed pain killers for pain at the incision site. The patient is recommended to walk a lot and is able to resume normal activities in a day or two. The stitches come out after 2 weeks.