Lung Biopsy in Interventional Radiology
Your doctor has scheduled a lung biopsy to be done on ____________________________ at___________________ ( ) am, ( ) pm.
Report to the G3/3 Radiology desk. Take the atrium elevators to the 3rd floor.
This handout explains the procedure to you. Before the biopsy, our doctors will explain the procedure and ask your consent to do it.
How to Prepare for the Biopsy (one of our staff will call you before the biopsy and review how to prepare for the procedure.)
- If you are taking blood thinners daily, contact the doctor who prescribes this medicine for you. In order to do this test, you must not be taking these blood thinners. Under your doctor’s direction, you should stop taking blood thinners such as aspirin or Coumadin® three days before your biopsy to prevent bleeding after the biopsy. If you take Plavix® this should be stopped seven days before your biopsy.
- Tell our staff if you are allergic to latex, contrast dye, antibiotics, anesthetic agents, or any other medicine.
- Please plan to have someone drive you home. We strongly suggest you have someone stay with you that night. You should not drive or make important decisions until the next day.
- Do not eat solid food 6 hours before the biopsy. You may drink clear liquids up until 4 hours before the procedure.
- In the morning, take your prescribed oral medicines on schedule with a small sip of water.
- If you are taking insulin we will need to know what kind you take in order to instruct you on how much to take the morning of the biopsy.(Most often, if you normally take long acting insulin in the morning, you should take ½ the dose on the morning of the biopsy. Also, if you normally take short acting insulin in the morning, most often you should take no short acting insulin). We will check your blood sugar when you arrive.
What Happens during a Lung Biopsy?
You will be taken to a prep area where a nurse will start an intravenous line (IV) and get you ready for the biopsy. You may have labs drawn or have your blood sugar checked.
During the biopsy, you will be brought to a special x-ray room. The skin will be cleaned with special soap. The skin will then be numbed. You will also likely get medicine to sedate you and relieve pain in your IV. The radiology doctor will use either ultrasound, fluoroscopy and/or CT to remove a small tissue sample.
Ultrasound allows us to view deep structures in the body by recording the echoes or pulses of sound waves sent into the tissues.
Fluoroscopy views deep structures using x-rays.
Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT scan) uses an x-ray beam that moves around the patient and creates an image of the body.
A special needle is used to remove the tissue. The x-ray machines mentioned above will help the doctor guide the needle into the area to be biopsied. You may feel pressure when the tissue sample is removed. The sample will be sent to the lab for exam under a microscope.
After the Biopsy
A Band-Aid will be applied to the site where the tissue sample was taken.
You will be sent to a recovery area. Here, you will be on strict bed rest for four to six hours. During this time you will have your pulse and blood pressure checked by our nurse. The nurse will look at the biopsy site on your chest often.
After the medicine from the procedure has worn off, you will be allowed to eat.
You may have a chest x-ray. The chest x-ray is taken to make sure your lung is inflated. If a part of the lung is collapsed, a small tube may be placed to re-expand the lung. If such a chest tube is needed, you will need to stay in the hospital at least one night.
After the numbing medicine wears off, you may feel some pain. Your pain should not be severe, but patients have described it as “somewhat sore” at the site. No pain medicines are typically prescribed. If it is still sore, we suggest the use of Tylenol®, Motrin®, or any other medicine that you would use for a headache. The soreness should go away within 24 hours.
The biopsy results are usually ready in 3 business days. The doctor who ordered the biopsy for you should be contacting you with the results.
Your Care at Home
- You may eat or drink what you’d like once you go home. Do not drink any alcohol for 24 hours.
- We suggest no smoking for 24-hours.
- Rest and do not do any strenuous activities. Resume your normal routine after 24 hours.
- You may remove the Band-Aid over the site the next morning.
- You may shower after 24 hours.
- You may have flecks of blood in your sputum when you cough or blow your nose for 1-3 days. This is normal.
When to Call the Doctor
Important! If you have shortness of breath, or can’t get your breath, you need to go to the nearest emergency room to be examined.
Also call your doctor if:
- You have blood the would soak a gauze pad at the biopsy site.
- Your pain around the biopsy site gets worse rather than better in 2-3 days.
- You have a large increase in sputum within the first 24 hours.
- Your sputum becomes blood-tinged with large clots (the size of a 50 cent piece).
- You have a fever greater than 100.4°F or 38° C.
If you have any questions or problems once you are at home, call Radiology at (608) 263-8355. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Evenings, weekends and holidays, call the paging operator (608) 262-0486, to reach the Interventional Radiologist on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/10/2012
Copyright © 04/27/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4485
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