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Solitary Pulmonary Nodule (cont.)

Biopsies

Biopsy is a sample of cells is removed for examination under a microscope. There are different methods to collect biopsy samples from the airway or lung tissue where the solitary pulmonary nodule is located.

Bronchoscopy: This procedure is used for solitary pulmonary nodules that are situated closer to the walls of the airways. A bronchoscope (a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a tiny camera at the end) is inserted through the mouth or nose and down the windpipe. From there, it can be inserted into the airways (bronchi) of the lungs. During bronchoscopy, the health care professional takes a biopsy sample from the solitary pulmonary nodule. If the lesion is not easily accessible on the airway wall or is smaller than 2 cm in diameter, a needle biopsy may be performed. This procedure is called a transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) biopsy. Usually, this technique is only successful with the aid of endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS).

Transthoracic needle aspiration (TTNA) biopsy: This type of biopsy is used if the lesion is not easily accessible on the airway wall or is smaller than 2 cm in diameter. If the solitary pulmonary nodule is on the periphery of the lung, a biopsy sample has to be taken with the help of a needle inserted through the chest wall and into the solitary pulmonary nodule. It is usually performed with CT guidance. With solitary pulmonary nodules larger than 2 cm in diameter, the diagnostic accuracy is higher (90% to 95%). However, the accuracy decreases (60% to 80%) in nodules that are smaller than 2 cm in diameter.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/25/2013

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Solitary Pulmonary Nodule - Cause

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Solitary Pulmonary Nodule »

Patients with solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) are usually asymptomatic; however, SPNs pose a challenge to both physicians and patients.

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