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Lung Biopsy: My Experience

First a foremost, I want to say that this was my journey for each of my lung biopsies. I am sure it is different at each hospital, health care setting, and even possibly different with each doctor.

When I first heard the words “you have lung cancer,” so many emotions came over me. As lung cancer survivors, each of us has gone through test after test. But we know, ultimately, the one we are most anxious for is that initial biopsy to see if it is truly malignant.

I am very lucky to live in a state with a large health care facility that is recognized nationwide. From the moment my biopsy was scheduled, I was kept informed and knew exactly what would happen. Lung biopsies are performed in Radiology by a radiologist. This was surprising to me. I thought it would have been a thoracic surgeon, but I was incorrect.

Pre-Biopsy Nerves

I arrived on time to X-ray. I was first taken to the dressing room and told to take off everything from the waist up and put on one of those lovely robes they give you. From there, they walked me to the room where the biopsy would be performed and I was told to lay on my stomach on the table – which was actually a room with a CT scan and a rather large TV above me. The staff did a CT scan to locate the tumor(s) so they would know where to inject the needle.

Once the area was determined, I was given an injection with Lidocaine to numb the area on my back. I was also given an IV to give me a slight sedation. I can tell you, the sedation was not sedation at all. It simply relaxed me and I realized I wasn’t as nervous.

Quick and (Relatively) Painless

Now it was time. The radiologist told me you will feel pressure. And that is exactly what it was. It felt like a small child had climbed on my back. I could hear clicking which was the needle/syringe the put into my back to grab a piece of the tumor. This process took less than 5 minutes.

And I was done! They told me I could get dressed, go home and my doctor would contact me. I was amazed the entire process was so easy and so fast I was really nervous for nothing.

While my experience was relatively easy, there are still some side effects you need to look out for:

I have had 3 biopsies and have never had any of the side effects. At most, I was sleepy when I got home from the relaxation sedative they gave me.
Have you had a lung biopsy? Share your experience with the community in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • AmandaWalton
    11 months ago

    Thank you so much! I’m crying because this completely put me at ease and gave me all the info I needed! Thanks again! I’ve been so scared and feel so much better now!

  • Jennifer M. Toth moderator author
    2 years ago

    Anita, please come back and let us know how your biopsy and clinical trial are going for you. We are all thinking of you.

  • Palmdalegirl
    2 years ago

    Each time I had a lung biopsy I got a collapsed lung. When that happens they have to put in a chest tube, and that was painful. I had a total of three chest tubes last year during my initial diagnosis. I had a Lobectomy to remove my cancer, and it had not spread, so I’m praying each time I get a scan, that nothing new is growing. I go next month for my 6 month scan and blood work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Jennifer M. Toth moderator author
    2 years ago

    Palmdale girl we will keep you in our thoughts. So sorry you experienced such difficulties.

  • Anita Figueras
    2 years ago

    Glad to read this article, Jennifer. After 3 years of biopsies done in other places, it looks like I will have my very first lung biopsy in just a few weeks, as part of a clinical trial.

  • Jennifer M. Toth moderator author
    2 years ago

    I pray yours goes well. Let us know

  • hppycmpr3
    2 years ago

    I have had 4 biopsies and the only side effect was once when they injected my blood to help clot I began coughing up blood. Afterwards I found out that was normal. Wish they had told me that before hand. Scared me.

  • Jennifer M. Toth moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hppycmpr3 I just learned something now. I didn’t realize it was normal. Thank you for your input.

  • Margot moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing with us hppycmpr3!

    Margot, Team

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