Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Open Lung Biopsy
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Open Lung Biopsy

How complicated is an open lung biopsy?  I understand it is an impatient procedure, what are the risks and concerns?  Will it provide a conclusive answer, one more specific than the high resolution CT scan?  Is the recovery tough after the biopsy?

Thank you.
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Open lung biopsy is a relatively straightforward procedure that requires general anesthesia.  It can be done through an incision.  Recovery may result in persistent chest pain or discomfort.  An open lung biopsy can also be done by video-assisted thoracoscopy.  A scope is placed through two small incisions.  When done with a scope, the recovery is generally fast and uneventful.

When done by a skilled doctor, risks and concerns are infrequent.  The most worrisome are bleeding, infection, and air leakage from the lung, requiring placement of a chest tube.  Biopsy and CT scanning are complementary.  Biopsy provides the specific answer that the CT scan cannot.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I had an open lung biopsy a couple of years ago.   It was determined I had asbestosis which causes scarring of the lungs or pulmonary fibrosis.  I am now on the transplant list at Emory Univ. in Atlanta, GA.  But to get back to the biopsy, it was certainly not fun but rather than go through a couple of less painful procedures beforehand, which very well might not would have produced the definite diagnosis, I chose the open lung biopsy.  The recovery was not so bad after the surgical clamps were removed.  Having a definite diagnosis was worth it to me.
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Avatar_n_tn
If a thorascopy is used, recovery time in the hospital is
usually short.
If a thoracotomy is used, recovery time is longer. See:

http://ipf.upmc.com/openLung.htm Open Lung Biopsy
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Avatar_n_tn
My neighbor had a lung biopsy done at a very well known large hospital.  I do not know which of the T's she had to obtain this biopsy.

Her lung collapsed and she contacted pneumonia soon after the procedure.

I do not know if these side effects of a lung biopsy is normal or a rare occurance.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a open lung biopsy last year.I was in the hospital for 6 days. First few days was rough but 3 weeks later I took a 1000 mile trip.Im on oxygen 24/7.I still have a mild case of scar tissue soreness.
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A related discussion, post-op lung biopsy was started.
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