A needle biopsy of the pleura (pleural biopsy) may be done if thoracentesis Thoracentesis Thoracentesis is the placement of a needle through the skin into the chest cavity to withdraw a sample of fluid. In thoracentesis, fluid that has collected abnormally in the pleural space (termed... read more does not uncover the cause of a pleural effusion Pleural Effusion Pleural effusion is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (the area between the two layers of the thin membrane that covers the lungs). Fluid can accumulate in the pleural... read more (a fluid buildup in the space between the two layers of the pleura). First, the skin is cleaned and anesthetized as for thoracentesis. Then, using a cutting needle, a doctor takes a small sample of tissue from the pleura and sends it to a laboratory to be examined for signs of disorders, such as cancer Lung Cancer Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. About 85% of cases are related to cigarette smoking. One common symptom is a persistent cough or a change in the character... read more or tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) Tuberculosis is a chronic contagious infection caused by the airborne bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs. Tuberculosis is spread mainly when people breathe... read more . About 80 to 90% of the time, a pleural biopsy is accurate in diagnosing tuberculosis, but it is less accurate for diagnosing cancer and other disorders.
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 (CT) or ultrasonography Chest Imaging 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).
Complications of pleural and lung biopsies are similar to those for thoracentesis Thoracentesis Thoracentesis is the placement of a needle through the skin into the chest cavity to withdraw a sample of fluid. In thoracentesis, fluid that has collected abnormally in the pleural space (termed... read more , although bleeding and pneumothorax Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is the presence of air between the two layers of pleura (thin, transparent, two-layered membrane that covers the lungs and also lines the inside of the chest wall), resulting... read more are more common with biopsies than with thoracentesis.
(See also Medical History and Physical Examination for Lung Disorders Medical History and Physical Examination for Lung Disorders A doctor first asks the person about symptoms. Chest tightness or pain, shortness of breath ( dyspnea) either at rest or during exertion, cough, coughing up of sputum or blood (hemoptysis),... read more and Respiratory System Overview of the Respiratory System To sustain life, the body must produce sufficient energy. Energy is produced by burning molecules in food, which is done by the process of oxidation (whereby food molecules are combined with... read more .)