Types of Procedures, Preparation & Reasons For Lung Biopsy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

In a lung biopsy procedure, the health professional will take out a piece of lung tissue to examine it below the microscope. There are four ways of doing this, and this is determined by factors like your health and the place the sample tissue will be taken from. These are the four procedures:

Bronchoscope Lung Biopsy

Bronchoscope lung biopsy is done with a bronchoscope that is put through the nose or mouth, and into the airways, and then used to take out a sample piece of tissue. This procedure is opted for when the tissues to be tested are next to the bronchi, if the patient has an infectious disease, or before opting for an invasive biopsy.

Needle Biopsy

The lung tissue is extracted with the help of a needle that is inserted into the chest wall. If the tissue is next to the chest wall, then this method is preferred. The needle is inserted with the help of a fluoroscopy, an ultrasound, or a computed tomography (CT).

Open Biopsy

In this, the surgeon will make an incision between the ribs. Then he will take out a piece of lung tissue. This method is chosen when the other two methods of lung biopsy have not been successful, or if a large piece of tissue is needed.

Video-assisted thorascopic surgery or VATS: A thorascope is inserted through the incision in the chest and used to take out a piece of sample lung tissue. This is known as VATS lung biopsy.

Reason Why It is Conducted

  • This biopsy is done to check if the patient has pulmonary fibrosis or saecoidosis.
  • Sometimes, this procedure might even be done for a patient suffering from severe pneumonia; more so, if the diagnosis is hazy. That's when pneumonia lung biopsy is done.
  • Lung cancer is diagnosed through this procedure.
  • If there are any abnormalities in some of the other tests like CT scan or chest X-ray, then a lung biopsy might be essential.


The first thing that you need to do if you have agreed for a lung biopsy is to sign the consent form. You can discuss your concerns with your doctor. You also need to tell your doctor if you have been taking certain medicines, are allergic to any particular medicine or anesthesia, or, are pregnant. Tell the physician if you have been taking blood-thinning medicines. Your blood test might be done before the lung biopsy. You will be asked not to drink or eat eight to en hours before the procedure is conducted.