Lung biopsy is a medical procedure that is performed in order to provide with the specimen of the lung tissue. This lung tissue is further examined pathohistologically and the doctor can set the definitive diagnosis of the disease.
This procedure is always performed if a doctor suspects on lung tumors, tuberculosis or in case of some other abnormalities such as nodules whose etiology cannot be confirmed without pathohistological examination.
During bronchoscopy a doctor can take samples of the abnormal tissue and he/she can also perform certain maneuvers which will help a patient with symptoms of the disease.
After the Lung Biopsy
Depending on the approach the patients are given specific direction on how to behave to avoid possible complications.
After the needle biopsy a patient is held to lie flat for a couple of hours. This prevents bleeding. The patient is released home and given additional advice on resuming normal activities. Bed rest should include two more days and then the patient can continue with regular daily activities. Strenuous activities including lifting of heavy objects are strictly forbidden for a week.
After open biopsy, VATS or medistinoscopy patients stay in the hospital. They spend certain time in the recovery room and then they are transferred to a hospital room. All the vital signs are closely monitored. Chest tubes need to stay in their place and they prevent collapse of the lungs and assist in drainage of the blood and fluids. The tubes are removed after a day. Patients can complain about sore throat which is a consequence of endotracheal intubation or pain at the incision site. These are normal reactions brought under control by specific medications. The recovery time is longer than after the needle biopsy.
Complications of the Lung Biopsy
Prior the biopsy a surgeon must be fully informed if patients are suffering from coagulopathies or take some medications since these can be risk factors for certain complications. Complications are also common in people who are suffering from other medical conditions.
Standard complications include bleeding, infections, and pneumonia. Pneumotorax is another complication that mostly occurs in open biopsies.
Bronchoscopic biopsy can cause spasm of the bronchial tubes and arrhythmia. Even infections such as pneumonia can occur.
After the needed biopsy the patient may cough up blood. This is rather rare complication and affects only 5% of all patients. Additionally patents can develop prolonged bleeding and infections.
In open biopsy infections and pneumotorax are most common complications. Patients who had problems with breathing prior the surgery are at higher risk of further breathing impairment after the surgery.
Mediastinoscopy does not commonly cause complications. Pneumotorax as well as prolonged bleeding are still possible. Even infections such as mediastinitis may occur. During mediastinoscopy some organs can be injured. They include esophagus and larynx. In case that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is damaged patients may develop chronic hoarseness.