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Discharge Instructions Needle Biopsy: Lung

You had a procedure called a needle biopsy of one of your lungs. In this procedure, a hollow needle is used to take one or more samples of your lung tissue. The tissue is then examined under a microscope. There are several different types of needle biopsies. Two types are:

  • Fine needle aspiration. A small amount of tissue is withdrawn (aspirated) using a very fine needle.

  • Core biopsy. A larger tissue sample is removed for examination.

A biopsy needle is inserted through your skin into your chest and lung. This is called a transthoracic approach which means across or through the chest (thorax). Scans are done at the same time so that your provider can locate the area where he or she would like to sample tissue. Needle biopsies do not require cuts or incisions into the body like open biopsies.

Your health care provider will use the results of your biopsy to help diagnose your condition.

Home care

  • The site of the biopsy may feel numb for a while if you received numbing medication.

  • You might have a little soreness following the needle biopsy.

  • Follow your health care provider's instructions about removing bandages and showering or bathing.

  • You may be sleepy after the biopsy if you received medication to help you relax (sedation). You should not drive until the next day.

  • You should not do heavy lifting, a lot of stair climbing, or take part in sports the day of your biopsy. You can get back to your regular activities as instructed by your health care provider.

  • Follow your health care provider's instructions about removing bandages and showering or bathing.

Follow-up care

Make sure you make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss the results of the biopsy.

 

 When to seek medical care

Although needle biopsies are safe, watch for the following complications:

  • Infection. You might have redness, pain, swelling, or drainage at the site of your biopsies.

  • Bleeding. You might also have bleeding at the site of your biopsies.

  • Coughing up blood. This may only be a small amount.

  • Pneumothorax. This means that air from your lungs leaks out into the spaces between your lungs and chest wall. It can lead to trouble breathing and a collapsed lung. Watch for trouble breathing, a fast pulse, sharp pains in your chest or shoulder, and bluish skin. If these symptoms occur, call your health care provider or go to your hospital emergency department.

If you have any of these complications or any other problems following your needle biopsy, call your health care provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 7/27/2014
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