GPS-like Technology Targets Trouble Deep in the Lungs
Abnormal findings or lesions in the lung may be caused by infection, inflammation
or cancer. However, if they're found on a traditional X-Ray or CT
Scan, doctors can't always make a diagnosis. Further testing is needed
to identify the cause of the problems. Bronchoscopy is a pulmonary procedure
where physicians examine the major air passages of the lungs through a
thin, lighted tube called a bronchoscope. Doctors use bronchoscopies to
evaluate the lungs and collect small tissue samples - or biospsies - to
diagnose lung disease and lung cancer.
"The lung cancer team at Jupiter Medical Center specializes in the
most advanced, minimally invasive bronchoscopy techniques," says
Kenneth Fuquay, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist. He and his colleague,
Rogelio Choy, MD, are able to offer patients many benefits thanks to these
sophisticated techniques. "We are able to minimize the risks of more
invasive dagnostic surgeries."
A traditional bronchoscopy can’t reach deep into the lungs, where
nearly 2/3 of all lung lesions are. Navigational bronchoscopy works in
a similar fashion to the Global Positioning System (GPS) in your car.
A CT scanner creates a 3-D image of the lungs, and the physician maps
a route to the lesions. While the patient is anesthetized, a bronchoscope
with electromagnetic sensors is moved down into the airways of the lungs.
The instruments feature 360-degree steering, and the sensors allow the
physician to track the bronchoscope's exact location.
Once the target lesions are reached, tiny surgical instruments are passed
through the bronchoscope to collect a biopsy from the lesion for testing
and diagnosis. “Navigational bronchoscopy is minimally invasive
compared to percutaneous lung biopsy procedures. (A percutaneous biopsy
is a biopsy that is obtained by putting a needle through the skin in order
to obtain tissue for examination). It also requires less time for recovery
and can be done on an outpatient basis,” adds Maung Kyaw Oo, MD,
a board-certified pulmonologist and medical director of pulmonary rehabilitation
at Jupiter Medical Center.
- This procedure is used to:
- Find and biopsy suspicious masses
- Suction excess fluid or mucus from the airway or chest
- Control bleeding in the airway
- Treat tumors in the airway
- Place airway stents
- Place catheters in vital areas of the lungs