Lung biopsy is a procedure performed to sample abnormalities identified on chest imaging, usually to determine the presence or absence of cancer in the lung and the type of cancer. Sometimes it is used for the identification of infections or other abnormalities where the diagnosis is not certain with non-invasive imaging. The study is frequently ordered by pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, or oncologists. Lung biopsies in radiology are usually performed with local anesthesia in the CT or fluoroscopy suite of the radiology department. The patient is positioned on the imaging table and the doctor, guided by the sophisticated imaging, inserts a needle into the lung abnormality to extract several samples of tissue for microscopic examination. The procedure usually takes around 30-45 minutes and requires patients to lie still for this length of time and at some points to hold their breath for up to 10 seconds. Usually patients are discharged within two hours after the procedure is complete. Occasionally they may need to be monitored for several hours or admitted to the hospital if complications occur. Biopsy results usually are available within a few days.
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