Lung Cancer

A support group for anyone affected by lung cancer to come together, share experiences, and ask questions.

Open Biopsy

Posted by

Hello All,

Sadly my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 3A Lung Cancer 3 weeks ago, his biopsy didn't produce results due to bleeding in the lung, so he needs to go in for an open biopsy, in order to come up with a treatment plan.

I wondered if anyone can let me know the recovery and dangers of this procedure, when they explained he needed this they where reasonably blase about it, however from my reading it appears people have struggled a lot after this procedure and needed to remain in hospital for 3-7 days.

 I am Dads sole carer so will be supporting him fully through this process and he will be living with us, I feel like I need to be totally prepared for every eventuality so we can cope for him.

Thankyou x

Posted by

 Hi Loulou

As there were no other answers I've just grabbed this from a website. Think it covers what you talking about.

Your dad should have been allocated a specialist nurse complete with telephone number. They are really the ones to speak to and ask the questions.

Good luck - Phil

How the Test is Performed

An open lung biopsy is done in the hospital using general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep and pain-free. A tube will be placed through your mouth down your throat to help you breathe.

The surgery is done in the following way:

  • After cleaning the skin, the surgeon makes a small cut in the left or right side of your chest.
  • The ribs are gently separated.
  • A viewing scope may be inserted through a small hole between the ribs to see the area to be biopsied.
  • Tissue is taken from the lung and sent to a laboratory for examination.
  • After surgery, the wound is closed with stitches.
  • Your surgeon may leave a small plastic tube in your chest to prevent air and fluid from building up.

How to Prepare for the Test

You should tell the health care provider if you are pregnant, allergic to any medicines, or if you have a bleeding problem. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take, including herbs, supplements, and those bought without a prescription.

Follow your surgeon's instructions for not eating or drinking before the procedure.

How the Test will Feel

When you wake up after the procedure, you will feel drowsy for several hours.

There will be some tenderness and pain where the surgical cut is located. Most surgeons inject a long-acting local anesthetic at the surgical cut site so that you will have very little pain afterwards.

You may have a sore throat from the tube. You can ease the pain by eating ice chips.


There is a slight chance of:

  • Air leak
  • Excess blood loss
  • Infection
  • Injury to the lung
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)

Alternative Names

Posted by

Hi Phil,

Thankyou for the link and yes found lots on line but its always good to get actual experiences from people.

Yes Dad does have a nurse, didn't think of her so will give her a call, Dad is so positive he never asks any of the difficult questions and as we dont want to burst his bubble, we need to get extra advice, outside of appointments


Posted by

I would say, apart from personal experience, the nurse is the way forward. I've bombarded my poor bugger but she smiles, answers the problem and then chats. Good luck Phil

Posted by

Hi Lou

Being a bit thick I've only just noticed that in the headers above, just under 'Online Community', there's a sub-heading 'Ask An Expert' which includes specialist nurses. I used them when I had prostate cancer 15 years ago and was having a meltdown and they were great. Phil