Lung Biopsy

A lung biopsy is a procedure in which a tissue sample is removed from the lung. The tissue can be examined under a microscope to help diagnose various lung disorders.


  • Any allergies you have.

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.

  • Previous problems you or members of your family have had with the use of anesthetics.

  • Any blood disorders or bleeding problems that you have.

  • Previous surgeries you have had.

  • Medical conditions you have.


Generally, a lung biopsy is a safe procedure. However, as with any procedure, complications can occur. Possible complications include:

  • Collapse of the lung.  

  • Bleeding.  

  • Infection.  


  • Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the procedure or as directed by your health care provider.

  • Ask your health care provider if you need to change or stop taking your regular medicines before the procedure.

  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.


Various methods can be used to perform a lung biopsy:

  • Needle biopsy: A biopsy needle is inserted into the lung. The needle is used to collect the tissue sample. A CT scanner may be used to guide the needle to the right place in the lung. For this method, a medicine is used to numb the area where the biopsy sample will be taken (local anesthetic).

  • Bronchoscopy: A flexible tube (bronchoscope) is inserted into your lungs by going through your mouth or nose. A needle or forceps is passed through the bronchoscope to remove the tissue sample. For this method, medicine may be used to numb the back of your throat.

  • Open biopsy: A cut (incision) is made in your chest. The tissue sample is then removed using surgical tools. The incision is closed with skin glue, skin adhesive strips, or stitches. For this method, you will be given medicine to make you sleep through the procedure (general anesthetic).


Your recovery will be assessed and monitored. For the needle or bronchoscope method, you may be allowed to go home on the day of your procedure as soon as you are stable. For the open biopsy method, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. You might have soreness and tenderness at the site of the biopsy for a few days after the procedure. You might have a cough and some soreness in your throat for a few days if a bronchoscope was used.