A Pleural Biopsy is performed by passing a small needle through the chest wall (needle biopsy), or a scope is passed through a small incision in the chest wall into the lungs (laparoscopy), and a small amount of tissue is taken from the lungs. The tissue is then examined with a microscope for abnormal cell changes. Occasionally, the pleural biopsy will be performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. An incision is made between the ribs; this allows your doctor to visualize the abnormal tissue and take a larger tissue sample for analysis. A pleural biopsy is done following abnormal thoracentesis results, to differentiate between tuberculosis, infection, or cancer; and may also be done after a chest X-ray shows lung changes such as abnormal tissue thickness or the presence of a tumor.
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