Transbronchial cryobiopsy in diffuse lung disease update for the pathologist

Thomas V. Colby, Sara Tomassetti, Alberto Cavazza, Alessandra Dubini, Venerino Poletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Context.-Transbronchial cryobiopsy has recently been proposed as an alternative to surgical biopsy in the diagnosis of diffuse lung disease. Objective.-To familiarize pathologists with transbronchial cryobiopsy, including what it is, how it is performed, how it compares to other techniques of lung biopsy in diffuse lung disease, what are the technical issues relating to it, what the complications are, how cryobiopsies should be interpreted, and the clinical usefulness of cryobiopsy. Data Sources.-All the available literature on cryobiopsy in diffuse lung disease through May 2016, primarily in the last 5 years, was reviewed, and some unpublished data known to the authors were included. Conclusions.-Cryobiopsies are considerably larger than forceps biopsies and allow pattern recognition approaching that of a surgical lung biopsy in many cases. Artifacts associated with cryobiopsy are minimal. In comparison with surgical lung biopsies, the diagnosis rate with cryo-biopsies is lower, in the neighborhood of 80%, versus higher than 90% for surgical lung biopsies. Cryobiopsy is proposed as an alternative to surgical lung biopsy and a technique that may appreciably decrease the number of patients who require surgical lung biopsy for diagnosis. This is important because the mortality from cryobiopsy is very small (0.1% to date) compared with surgical lung biopsy (1.7% for elective procedures and considerably higher for nonelective procedures).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-900
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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