Pleural puncture - biopsy

What is a pleural puncture - biopsy?

A pleural biopsy is a blind sampling of small pleura pieces with a special needle (Cope or Abrams needle) for diagnostic purposes. The puncture site varies depending on what needs to be punctured.


The procedure can take from a few minutes to half an hour.


The skin and chest wall are disinfected and locally anesthetized using xylocaine. The patient sits on an examination table during the entire examination and possibly receives an intramuscular injection of atropine before the examination in order to avoid any discomfort.

What happens after the procedure?

A pleural drain is at times placed after the procedure to fully empty the pleural cavity, relieve shortness of breath or consider local treatment afterwards.

Risks and inconveniences

Impaired vision (blurred sight) for 1 to 2 hours caused by atropine can occur. It is not recommended to drive a car during this time period.


Any medical act, exploration, or intervention on the human body, even if carried out under conditions of competence and safety in accordance with current scientific data and regulations, entails a risk of complication.

The complications of pleural puncture-biopsy are quite exceptional. They may consist either of a pneumothorax (air in the pleural cavity) by accidental lung puncture or entry of air through the needle or of a hemothorax (blood in the cavity) by injury of an intercostal artery.


Pneumology consultation secretariat

+32 2 764 19 02
Floor: -1 Road: 361