how do they do a biopsy of the lung?

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    A lung biopsy removes a small piece of lung tissue which can be looked at under a microscope. The biopsy can be done in 4 ways. The method used depends on where the sample will be taken from and your overall health.

    Bronchoscope biopsy. This type of biopsy uses a lighted instrument (bronchoscope) inserted through the mouth or nose and into the airway to remove a lung tissue sample. This method may be used if an infectious disease is suspected, if the abnormal lung tissue is located next to the breathing tubes (bronchi), or before trying more invasive methods, such as an open lung biopsy.
    Needle biopsy. A needle biopsy uses a long needle inserted through the chest wall to remove a sample of lung tissue. This method is used if the abnormal lung tissue is located close to the chest wall. A computed tomography (CT) scan, an ultrasound, or fluoroscopy are usually used to guide the needle to the abnormal tissue.
    Open biopsy. An open biopsy uses surgery to make a cut (incision) between the ribs and remove a sample of lung tissue. An open biopsy is usually done when the other methods of lung biopsy have not been successful, cannot be used, or when a larger piece of lung tissue is needed for a diagnosis.
    Video-assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS). A VATS uses a scope (called a thorascope) passed through a small incision in the chest to remove a sample of lung tissue.
    Why It Is Done

    A lung biopsy is done to:

    Diagnose certain lung conditions, such as sarcoidosis or pulmonary fibrosis. In rare cases, a lung biopsy may be done for severe pneumonia, especially if the diagnosis is not clear.
    Diagnose suspected lung cancer.
    Evaluate any abnormalities seen on other tests, such as a chest X-ray or a CT scan. A lung biopsy is usually done when other tests cannot identify the cause of lung problems.
    How To Prepare

    You will be asked to sign a consent form before a lung biopsy. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of the biopsy, fill out the medical test information form.

    Before you have a lung biopsy, tell your doctor if you:

    Are taking any medications.
    Are allergic to any medications, including anesthetics.
    Have had bleeding problems or take blood thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).
    Are or might be pregnant.
    Your doctor may order certain blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and bleeding factors, before your lung biopsy.

    Your doctor will tell you how soon before the biopsy to stop eating and drinking. In most cases, you will need to stop eating at least 6 hours before your biopsy. You may be able to drink clear liquids, such as water, coffee, or tea, up to 2 hours before the biopsy. But be sure to follow the exact instructions your doctor gives you.

    Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure if you do not need to stay in the hospital.

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