Types of Biopsies

  • Mostafa M. FraigEmail author


Lung biopsy is relatively a new technique as the lung has been difficult to approach through the skin. Open lung biopsy required thoracotomy. This involved splitting of chest muscles and the ribs with increased morbidity and long-lasting side effects only for the sake of obtaining a biopsy. With the advent of flexible bronchoscopy and forceps-assisted biopsy, it was possible to diagnose or rule out different lung conditions or diseases. The transbronchial biopsy proved to be close to comparable to wedge biopsy in terms of diagnostic yield and accuracy in most instances. In the early 1990s, open lung biopsy has been replaced by “video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery” or VATS with less morbidity and comparable results.

CT scanning led to the incidental discovery of lung nodules without any recognizable symptoms. That led to the desire to sample these nodules to rule out early malignancy. Targeted needle core biopsy under CT guidance became a commonplace procedure in many radiology practices.

More recently, electromagnetic navigational procedures made it possible to reach to the periphery of the lungs farther than any of the flexible bronchoscopes are able to reach. The introduction of cryobiopsy enabled pulmonologists to obtain a large biopsy that could be comparable to wedge biopsy for the purpose of diagnosing diffuse interstitial lung diseases.


Transbronchial biopsy Core biopsy Wedge biopsy Fine-needle aspiration biopsy Cryobiopsy Carcinoid tumorlets Chemodectoma Pseudolipoid artifact Pseudo-atelectasis 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineSchool of Medicine, University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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