CT-guided needle biopsy of lung lesions: a survey of severe complication based on 9783 biopsies in Japan

Eur J Radiol. 2006 Jul;59(1):60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2006.02.001. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


Purpose: The aim of our study was to update the rate of severe complications following CT-guided needle biopsy in Japan via a mailed survey.

Materials and methods: Postal questionnaires regarding CT-guided needle biopsy were sent out to multiple hospitals in Japan. The questions regarded: the total number and duration of CT-guided lung biopsies performed at each hospital, and the complication rates and numbers of pneumothorax, hemothorax, air embolism, tumor seeding, tension pneumothorax and other rare complications. Each severe complication was followed with additional questions.

Results: Data from 9783 biopsies was collected from 124 centers. Pneumothorax was the most common complication, and occurred in 2412 (35%) of 6881 cases. A total of 39 (35%) hospitals reported 74 (0.75%) cases with severe complications. There were six cases (0.061%) with air embolism, six cases (0.061%) with tumor seeding at the site of the biopsy route, 10 cases (0.10%) with tension pneumothorax, six cases (0.061%) with severe pulmonary hemorrhage or hemoptysis, nine cases (0.092%) with hemothorax, and 27 cases (0.26%) with others, including heart arrest, shock, and respiratory arrest. From a total of 62 patients with severe complications, 54 patients (0.55%) recovered without sequela, however one patient (0.01%) recovered with hemiplegia due to cerebral infarction, and the remaining seven patients (0.07%) died.

Conclusions: This is the first national study documenting severe complications with respect to CT-guided needle biopsy in Japan. The complication rate in Japan is comparable to internationally published figures. We believe this data will improve both clinicians as well as patients understanding of the risk versus benefit of CT-guided needle biopsy, resulting better decisions.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Radiography, Interventional*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*