Image-guided 25-gauge needle biopsy for thoracic lesions: Diagnostic feasibility and safety

Eric VanSonnenberg, Brian W. Goodacre, Gerhard R. Wittich, Robert Logrono, Peter T. Kennedy, Joseph B. Zwischenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To report our experience regarding the feasibility and safety of 25-gauge needles for biopsy of thoracic lesions. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-six patients with thoracic lesions, predominately pulmonary nodules, measuring 0.7-5.2 cm (mean, 1.6 cm) underwent biopsy with computed tomographic (n = 24), ultrasonographic (n = 1), or fluoroscopic (n = 1) guidance. Nineteen patients had severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one had severe restrictive lung disease, and one had a coagulopathy; the other five patients had nonpulmonary primary tumors. Biopsy with an inner 25-gauge needle traversing an outer extrapleural coaxial cannula was performed in all patients. Cytologic quick staining was performed routinely to determine specimen adequacy and to establish a preliminary diagnosis. Complications, specimen adequacy, and need for larger specimens were evaluated. RESULTS: Adequate specimens (as determined by cytopathologists) were obtained in 24 (92%) of 26 patients, with a definitive diagnosis achieved in 23 (88%) patients during initial quick staining (17 malignant and six benign diagnoses). Two cases initially considered suspicious for malignancy were reclassified as benign (thymoma and histoplasmosis). At the request of cytopathologists, a larger needle was used to supplement the 25-gauge needle in six patients: In one patient, it provided further diagnostic information; in four, it did not; and in one, it confirmed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Five patients developed a small pneumothorax (< 10%) with use of the 25-gauge needle alone; one other patient, in whom larger needles were placed, received a radiologic chest catheter to evacuate the pneumothorax, thereby allowing the biopsy to continue. CONCLUSION: Image-guided 25-gauge needle biopsy is both feasible and safe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-418
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Biopsies, complications
  • Biopsies, technology
  • Thorax, biopsy
  • Thorax, neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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