A biopsy is a procedure that removes a small piece of living tissue from your body. The tissue is examined with a microscope for signs of damage or disease. There are several ways that a biopsy can be performed and the choice depends upon the condition for which you are being tested. A biopsy can be performed during bronchoscopy, by passing a needle through the chest wall with the guidance of a CT scanner, and surgically.

Chest tube insertion

Chest tube insertion, also known as chest tube thoracostomy, is done to drain fluid, blood, or air from the space around the lungs. A hollow tube is placed between the ribs and into the chest. The tube is often hooked up to a suction machine to help with drainage.


Your doctor may want to do a bronchoscopy to see the inside of the airways, get samples to test for infection, or get tissue or cells to look at under a microscope. The procedure involves inserting a thin (about the size of pencil) tube-like instrument through the nose or mouth and into the airways. The tube has a mini-camera at its tip that transmits pictures to a video screen or camera.


A thoracentesis, also called a pleural tap, is performed to remove fluid from around the lung. In some cases, only a small amount of fluid is removed for testing. In other cases, large amounts of fluid are removed as treatment. A pleural tap involves inserting a thin needle or tube through the chest wall and into the narrow space that surround the lungs.