Biopsies for Diagnosing Mesothelioma

When it comes to biopsies, these mesothelioma diagnosis techniques are used to remove cell or tissue samples, which are analyzed in a laboratory. If a patient has symptoms and signs that resemble those of mesothelioma, the doctor may consider having biopsy to help find out if the disease is indeed mesothelioma. The biopsy procedures include the following:


This is a pleural biopsy that involves small incisions made in the side of the body to the lungs. During the procedure, a patient is put under anesthesia. In one of the holes, the doctor inserts the thoracoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube consisting of a light and camera. The thoracoscope allows the lungs to be viewed on a video. In the other incisions, a doctor inserts surgical tools to collect tissue or cell samples that are examined under a microscope.

Laparoscopic biopsy

In this procedure, a doctor collects a tissue sample if it has been suspected they have peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining tissue caused by asbestos exposure). The patient is put to sleep with general anesthesia and the surgeon will make small incisions within the abdominal wall.

Using a laparoscope, which is a long, thin tube containing a camera and light at the end, the surgeon looks at the peritoneal area through a monitor. Having a clear view of the body part, the surgeon will take biopsy samples that are sent for examination in a laboratory.


With this procedure, it does not involve making incisions, but instead the surgeon inserts a flexible tube with a camera and light, also known as bronchoscope, into the lung area via the mouth. The bronchoscope checks for abnormalities in the airways.

Also, the doctor may use the bronchoscope to extract tissue samples to be taken for a laboratory analysis. Since mesothelioma does not develop within the airways, an ultrasound device may be used along with the bronchoscope to try to find out if the disease had spread to other areas like the lymph nodes. This procedure is referred to as endobronchial ultrasound-needle biopsy.


This biopsy procedure is used to examine if the cancer may have spread to attack other areas like the lymph nodes within the mediastinum. Mediastinum is an area within the center of an individual’s chest. During mediastinoscopy, the surgeon will make a small puncture or incision within the base of the neck to examine the mediastinum using a specialized kind of endoscope. Also, the surgeon uses special instruments during the procedure to collect tissue samples that are taken for lab testing.


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