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Needle Biopsy of the Pleura or Lung

By

Rebecca Dezube

, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
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A needle biopsy is a procedure in which a biopsy needle is inserted into the lung or through the membrane surrounding the lung (pleura) and is used to remove a piece of tissue for examination.

A needle biopsy of the lung may be done if a tissue specimen needs to be obtained from a lung tumor. After anesthetizing the skin, a doctor, often using chest computed tomography Chest imaging studies include X-rays Computed tomography (CT) CT angiography Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) read more (CT) or ultrasonography Chest imaging studies include X-rays Computed tomography (CT) CT angiography Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) read more for guidance, directs a biopsy needle into a tumor and obtains cells or a small piece of tissue to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. If a lung infection is suspected, tissue can also be sent for culture (a procedure in which a tissue sample is placed in a container containing nutrients and the container is observed to detect bacterial growth).

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