In English | En español
Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

Page Options

  • Print This Page

Widget

NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



lung biopsy  listen  (… BY-op-see)

  The removal of a small piece of lung tissue to be checked by a pathologist for cancer or other diseases. The tissue may be removed using a bronchoscope (a thin, lighted, tube-like instrument that is inserted through the trachea and into the lung). It may also be removed using a fine needle inserted through the chest wall, by surgery guided by a video camera inserted through the chest wall, or by an open biopsy. In an open biopsy, a doctor makes an incision between the ribs, removes a sample of lung tissue, and closes the wound with stitches.

Enlarge
Lung biopsy; drawing shows a patient lying on a table that slides through the computed tomography (CT) machine with an x-ray picture of a cross-section of the lung on a monitor above the patient. Drawing also shows a doctor using the x-ray picture to help place the biopsy needle through the chest wall and into the area of abnormal lung tissue. Inset shows a side view of the chest cavity and lungs with the biopsy needle inserted into the area of abnormal tissue.