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Discharge Instructions Needle Biopsy: Lung

You had a needle biopsy done on a lung. In this procedure, a hollow needle is used to take samples of your lung tissue. The tissue is then looked at 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 A small amount of tissue is withdrawn (aspirated) using a very fine needle.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 needle is used to take tissue samples for exam.

A biopsy needle is put through your skin into your chest and lung. This is called a transthoracic approach, which means across or through the chest (thorax). Imaging scans are done at the same time. These help your healthcare provider find the spot where they would like to sample tissue. Needle biopsies don't require cuts into the body like open biopsies.

Your healthcare provider will use the results of your biopsy to help diagnose your health problem.

Home care

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

  • You might have a little soreness afterward.

  • Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about taking off bandages and showering or bathing.

  • You may be sleepy after the biopsy if you got medicine to help you relax (sedation). Don't drive until the next day or as instructed by your healthcare provider.

  • Don't do heavy lifting, a lot of stair climbing, vigorous exercise, or sports the day of your biopsy. You can get back to your regular activities as instructed by your healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Be sure you make an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about the biopsy results.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

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

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

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

  • Fever of 100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as advised by your healthcare provider.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if any of these occur:

  • Shortness of breath, pain with breathing, or trouble breathing. These could be signs of a collapsed lung (pneumothorax). This means that air from your lungs leaks out into the spaces between your lungs and chest wall.

  • Fast heart rate

  • Sharp pains in your chest or shoulder

  • Fingernails, lips, or skin that turns blue, purple, or gray

  • Trouble walking or talking

  • Feeling faint or dizzy

  • Severe bleeding or coughing up large amounts of blood

Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2022
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