Having a Transbronchial Biopsy
This is very similar to an ordinary bronchoscopy . The only difference is that the biopsy forceps are passed out of the bronchoscope into smaller bronchi to get biopsies from the outer part of the lung. This is usually used to diagnose conditions which are affecting large areas of lung.
The bronchoscopist can not directly see the area being biopsied which is beyond the range of the bronchoscope itself. Some bronchoscopists like to use an X-ray machine to help them do this so you may have an X-ray machine called an image intensifier put over your chest at the point when the biopsies are taken.
You will not feel anything while the x-rays are being used. Many doctors do the test without X-rays. The test is equally safe with either method.
Is it safe?
Transbronchial biopsy is a very safe procedure. However there is a risk of about 10% of getting an air leak or a little bleeding from the lung when it is biopsied. After a transbronchial biopsy patients are observed for longer before going home and most doctors like to do a chest X-ray after the test to check for an air leak ( pneumothorax).
Even if a leak does occur, these are often minor and will absorb on their own without any treatment. If there is a large leak, it may be necessary to remove the air from the chest either through a needle or sometimes through a tube which may mean staying in hospital until this has been done.