What is transthoracic needle aspiration (TTNA)?

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Transthoracic needle aspiration (TTNA) is a diagnostic procedure that is done to determine the cause of an abnormality on the lung. The abnormality may have been detected initially on a chest x-ray or another type of imaging scan.

You may be given a sedative just before the procedure. To perform TTNA, your doctor will first clean the skin in your chest area and inject a local anesthetic before inserting a long needle into the chest wall, between your ribs, to take a sample of lung tissue for a biopsy. The doctor may use ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) to guide the needle directly to the area of the lung where the abnormality was detected. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. A followup X-ray is done within a few hours to make sure there are no complications from the procedure.

TTNA is usually performed to rule out cancer, but can also be helpful in diagnosing some lung infections caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.