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Needle Biopsy of the Lung


A needle biopsy of the lung is a procedure to remove cells or tissue from your lung. You may have a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), or a core needle biopsy (CNB). A FNAB is used to remove cells through a thin needle. CNB uses a thicker needle to remove lung tissue. The samples are collected and tested for inflammation, infection, or cancer.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for more tests or to have your chest tube removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Ask your healthcare provider how to clean the skin around your biopsy area.

Chest tubes:

  • Ask for information about cleaning the skin around your chest tube.
  • Keep the chest tube below the level of your chest.
  • Do not attach the chest tube to your clothes or bedding.
  • Do not clamp or seal off the tubing.

Deep breathing:

If you have a chest tube, you may need to practice deep breathing to keep you from getting a lung infection. Deep breathing opens the tubes going to your lungs. Slowly take a deep breath and hold the breath as long as you can. Then let out your breath. Take 10 deep breaths in a row every hour while awake. You may be asked to use an incentive spirometer to help you with this. Put the plastic piece into your mouth and slowly take a breath as deep and as long as you can. Hold your breath as long as you can. Then let your breath out.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk for lung disease. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pus, redness, or swelling around the biopsy area or where the chest tube enters your body.
  • You have a new cough.
  • The tubing of your chest tube gets bent or twisted, or the tape comes loose.
  • The fluid in your chest tube container is cloudy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You cough up blood or see blood in the container for your chest tube.
  • You feel lightheaded, have a fast heartbeat, or have trouble breathing.
  • You have weakness in an arm or leg.
  • You become confused, or have difficulty speaking.
  • You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.
  • You have pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm.
  • You have discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain.
  • Your chest tube falls out. Cover the hole where your chest tube fell out with a gauze bandage. Do not cover the hole with a plastic bandage or anything else that sticks to your skin.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.