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Ultrasound-Guided Biopsies

Thoracic Ultrasound-Guided Lung/Pleural/Lymph Node Biopsies

As a pioneer and a leader in the use of ultrasound technology, UC San Diego Health is proud to offer our patients minimally invasive biopsy options. In the Interventional Pulmonology Unit, an ultrasound is used as an adjunct to many procedures, including thoracentesis, paracentesis, lung biopsy, pleural biopsy, and lymph node aspiration. It enhances the physicians' ability to safely sample lung lesions and neck or body lymph nodes with high accuracy.

This tool can be used to determine if infection, cancer, or other inflammatory processes are present. An ultrasound is used by our physicians after examining PET and body or chest CAT scans to determine when an ultrasound guided procedure is needed to diagnose lung disease or lymph node pathology.

Why is it used?

  • An ultrasound allows physicians to perform highly diagnostic, minimally invasive pulmonary or lymph node biopsies
  • Minimally invasive biopsies may avoid the need for more invasive, high risk procedures
  • Many diseases, including lung cancer, sarcoidosis, lymphoma, mesothelioma, and other inflammatory disorders can be diagnosed using ultrasound-guided procedures

Benefits of Ultrasound-Guided Biopsies

  • There is less risk with a higher degree of accuracy compared to other procedures without an ultrasound
  • It is an extremely safe procedure that allows for maneuverability of biopsy instruments, which gives physicians access to lung lesions, pleural lesions, or enlarged lymph nodes
  • It may increase the chance of diagnosing and staging lung cancer, mesothelioma, lymphoma, sarcoidosis, infections, and inflammatory disease with less risk of complications, like bleeding or lung injury.

Appointments & Referrals

NOTE: All referred patients will still have the option of continuing treatment with their primary care physicians after the procedure.

Interventional Pulmonology Locations


La Jolla

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