Lung Biopsy in Radiology
Your primary doctor has scheduled a lung biopsy to be done in CT on ____________________.
Please report to the G3/3 Radiology desk (Atrium elevators to the 3rd floor) a few minutes
Before the biopsy our doctors will explain the procedure further and ask your consent to do it.
This handout tells you what you need to know before you come in. Phone numbers to answer
any questions are on the last page.
How To Prepare for the Biopsy
1. Take no Ibuprofen or Naproxen for 7 days before your biopsy, unless prescribed by a doctor.
2. Let us know if you have any new allergies or if you are pregnant.
3. You will need to have blood work done before your biopsy to test blood clotting. The blood
work is a platelet count and INR. Results must be less than six months old. If you have your
blood work done elsewhere, bring the results with you the day of your biopsy or have them
faxed to the CT biopsy RN at 608-890-9122.
4. If you are taking aspirin, Warfarin, or Coumadin®, Plavix, Prasurgrel, Pradaxa, Xarelto, or
any other blood thinning medication you will either be given other therapy by your doctor,
allowed to stop the medicine for one week before the biopsy, or asked to continue low dose
aspirin through the day of the biopsy. We will discuss this with your doctor and either we or
your doctor’s office will call you.
5. Please plan to have someone drive you home after the biopsy. You should also have
someone stay with you the night after the biopsy.
6. Stop eating 6 hours before the procedure. You may drink clear liquids up until 2 hours
before the procedure. (coffee-black, tea, fruit juice without pulp, and water are okay)
a. Do not take any regular insulin (Novolog/aspart, Humalog/lispro,
Apidra/glulisine). Take ½ the dose of NPH as you normally take it in the
morning. Take your usual dose if you take Glargine/Lantus or Detemir/levemir.
b. Hold your oral diabetic medications the morning of the procedure, but bring
them with you for after the procedure when you are eating again.
8. Take your scheduled prescribed oral medicines, except diuretics/water pills, as usual with
a small sip of water.
During the Biopsy
In the prep area, an intravenous (IV) catheter will be started to give you fluids. Medicine to relax
you will be given through the IV during the procedure.
Once in the CT scanner, the first scans will be taken to check position and for any changes in the
nodule. The Radiologists will mark the area of interest, and clean the skin with disinfectant soap.
The area will be numbed with lidocaine. In most cases, our patients do not feel very much
pain during this procedure, but you may feel pressure during the tissue removal.
The tissue sample is taken using a special needle that is inserted through the skin into the lung.
Several samples may be taken during the procedure and handed to a cytopathologist. The doctors
wait for the cytopathologist to tell them if they have enough cells for an accurate exam before
ending the procedure. If a core tissue sample is taken it is placed in fluid and hand carried to the
Pathology Lab to be checked under microscopes for any disease.
After the Biopsy
After the biopsy, a Band-Aid will be applied to the site where the tissue sample was taken.
You will be taken back to the prep area, where you will be on bed rest for one hour and not
allowed to eat or drink until after the 1st chest x-ray is taken to check that your lung is still
After the x-ray is checked by the doctor and cleared, you may be allowed to eat and drink
whatever you would like. You will then be able to move around your room and go to the
If the x-ray shows you have an accumulation of air around your lung, you will not be allowed to
eat. You will need a 2nd x-ray 2 hours after the 1s and you could be in the prep area up to 4 hours
before you are allowed to go home.
If the accumulation of air increases, you have shortness of breath or changes in your vital signs,
you may have a small tube inserted in your lung to re-expand it. If such a tube is needed, you
will be admitted to the hospital overnight.
After the local anesthetic wears off, you may feel “somewhat sore” at the biopsy site. No
medicines are prescribed after the biopsy. If you are having discomfort at the site, we suggest the
use of Motrin® or your regular pain medicine. Ice may be used to ease discomfort. The soreness
should be mostly gone after 24 hours.
Your Care at Home
You may eat your normal diet, without alcohol for the first 24 hours.
No smoking for 24 hours. If you cough, try to cough as gently as possible.
Rest and do only light activities, no heavy lifting or an activity that raise your heart rate.
Resume your normal routine after 24 hours, only light activity for 5-7 days. We suggest no
airplane travel for 2-3 weeks after the procedure.
You may remove the Band-Aid and shower the next morning.
You may have flecks of blood in your sputum when you cough or blow your nose for 1-3
days after the procedure. 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. Don’t wait to see if it gets better.
Other reasons to call your doctor:
If you have lots of bleeding at the biopsy site.
If your pain around the biopsy site gets worse rather than better 2-3 days after the biopsy.
If you have a large increase in sputum within the first 24 hours after the procedure.
If your sputum production includes clots bigger than a fifty cent piece.
If you have a fever greater than 101 θ F. If you are not feeling well, check your
If you have any questions or problems once you are at home, call 608-263-0693 Monday through
Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to speak to the biopsy nurse. If you cannot reach the nurse in a
timely manner, call one of the numbers below for the Radiologist on call.
Evenings and weekends call the paging operator (608) 262-2122 to reach the Radiologist on call.
Tell them which doctor performed your procedure. Give 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 and ask them to connect you.
You should receive results of the biopsy within 1-3 days. If you have not heard from your
primary doctor within that time, please call that doctor for the results.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©1/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6562.