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Lung Surgery: Your Evaluation and Tests

You are having lung surgery. To evaluate your lungs, tests may be performed. You may have had some of these tests. Others may be scheduled before your surgery. Your doctor uses the information gathered during these tests to help plan your surgery and treatment.

Outline of head and chest showing nose, trachea, and lungs. Bronchoscope is inserted in nose into trachea and ending at lung.
Bronchoscopy gives a closer look at your breathing passages.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests take pictures of your lungs. They can detect problems such as a mass, an infection, or air in the pleural cavity (space between the lungs and the chest wall). But they can’t tell the doctor for certain whether a lung mass is cancer. Imaging tests you may have include:

  • Chest x-rays

  • CT (computed tomography), also called CAT scans

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • PET (positron emission tomography)

  • Other imaging tests as needed

Visualization and Biopsy Tests

Visualization tests show the inside of your lungs and the area around your lungs. A biopsy takes small samples of lung cells or tissue. These can be examined later under a microscope. Possible tests include:

  • Bronchoscopy. This is done using a thin lighted tube called a bronchoscope. It is put into the nose or mouth down to the lungs. It is used to look at breathing passages at the entrance to your lungs.

  • Mediastinoscopy. A tube is inserted through an incision above the breastbone. This tube is used to look at the area between the lungs.

  • Mediastinotomy. The lymph nodes in the chest are examined through an incision in the chest wall. A biopsy may be done.

  • Needle biopsy. A needle is inserted through the chest wall or through a bronchoscope. The needle is used to collect tissue or fluid.

Other Tests

You may have tests to measure how well your lungs work. They include:

  • Pulmonary function tests. These measure how your lungs work. This includes testing how much air your lungs can hold and how much air is left in your lungs after you exhale. These also measure how fast you can blow air out of your lungs.

  • Pulse oximetry. This measures how much oxygen is passed from your lungs to your blood.

  • Arterial blood samples. These show how much oxygen is in your blood.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/15/2007
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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