Closed pleural biopsy; Needle biopsy of the pleura
Pleural biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of the pleura. This is the thin tissue that lines the chest cavity and surrounds the lungs. The biopsy is done to check the pleura for disease of infection.
This test may be done in the hospital. It may also be done at a clinic or doctor's office.
The procedure involves the following:
In some cases, pleural biopsy is done using a fiberoptic scope. The scope allows the doctor to view the area of the pleura from which the biopsies are taken.
You will have blood tests before the biopsy. You will likely have a chest x-ray.
When the local anesthetic is injected, you may feel a brief prick (like when an intravenous line is placed) and a burning sensation. When the biopsy needle is inserted, you may feel pressure. As the needle is being removed, you may feel tugging.
Pleural biopsy is usually done to find the cause of a collection of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion) or other abnormality of the pleural membrane. Pleural biopsy can diagnose tuberculosis, cancer, and other diseases.
If this type of pleural biopsy is not enough to make a diagnosis, you may need a surgical biopsy of the pleura.
Pleural tissues appear normal, without signs of inflammation, infection, or cancer.
There is a slight chance of the needle puncturing the wall of the lung, which can partially collapse the lung. This usually gets better on its own. Sometimes, a chest tube is needed to drain the air and expand the lung.
There is also a chance of excessive blood loss.
If a closed pleural biopsy is not enough to make a diagnosis, you may need a surgical biopsy of the pleura.
Klein JS, Bhave AD. Thoracic radiology: invasive diagnostic imaging and image-guided interventions. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 19.
Reed JC. Pleural effusions. In: Reed JC, ed. Chest Radiology: Patterns and Differential Diagnoses. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 4.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 7/11/2019
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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