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A 36-year-old member asked:

What should i know about a needle lung biopsy? my doctor wants to do a needle biopsy of my lung as an outpatient. what are the risks of this procedure?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 41 years experience
A : A needle biopsy of the lung is very useful in diagnosing many pathological pulmonary conditions. However, like any other procedure it is associated with some risks. The type of procedure you are referring to is a called a ct-guided percutaneous needle biopsy. This procedure involves inserting a needle through the skin and chest wall to the area of the lung where the biopsy is to be taken, all under the accurate direction of a ct scan (a type of x-ray). The main risk of this procedure is developing a collapsed lung. The doctor doing the procedure will check for this complication after the procedure is completed. Most cases of a pneumothorax are easily manageable and simply just need to be observed until the body heals itself, however, a minority will require another procedure (and rarely surgery) to fix it. Other extremely rare risks include bleeding and the introduction of infection into the lung (pneumonia or empyema). These are extremely rare complications as precautions are always made to prevent these, e.g. Using sterile technique and also testing blood prior to the procedure to check that you do not have a predisposition to excessive bleeding.
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Anesthesiology 24 years experience
Risks: Main risks: pneumothorax, infection, bleeding, other organ injury. Discuss risks with your doctor before the consent and procedure.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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