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Pleural biopsy

This is a procedure to remove a sample of the tissue lining the lungs and the inside of the chest wall to check for disease (like cancer) or infection (like tuberculosis). The procedure is done under ultrasound guidance. A local anaesthetic injection is given to numb the skin before a small cut is made and Trucut needle inserted. Samples are sent for the relevant tests.

Possible complications of pleural biopsy: pneumothorax, introduction of infection to the pleural cavity which can lead to empyema, bleeding which is usually minor and self-limiting, (but if intercostal artery is damaged could be disastrous) and puncturing the lungs.

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