Another type of groundbreaking diagnostic procedure lets physicians see
through lung tissue to test for conditions such as lung cancer, lymphoma
and other diseases. During endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), a physician
uses an ultrasound probe to look at the lung and mediastinum (the membranous
partition between the lungs) on an ultrasound monitor. The doctor can
then take tissue samples from a lung nodule or a suspicious-looking lymph
node. This procedure may be done by a surgeon or an interventional pulmonologist.
Rogelio Choy, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist explains that during
the conventional diagnostic procedure, surgery known as mediastinoscopy
is performed to provide access to the chest. A small incision is made
in the neck just above or next to the breastbone. Next, a thin scope is
inserted through the opening to provide access to the lungs and surrounding
lymph nodes. Tissue or fluid is then collected via biopsy.
During EBUS, the physician can perform needle aspiration on lymph nodes
using a bronchoscope inserted through the mouth. “A special endoscope
fitted with an ultrasound processor and a fine-gauge aspiration needle
is guided through the patient’s trachea. No incisions are necessary,”
adds Dr. Choy.
- Benefits of Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS):
- Provides real time imaging of the surface of the airways, blood vessels,
lungs, and lymph nodes.
- The improved images allow the physician to easily view difficult-to-reach
areas and access more, and smaller, lymph nodes for biopsy with the aspiration
needle than through conventional mediatinoscopy.
- The accuracy and speed of the EDBUS procedure lends itself to quicker onsite
- Pathologists in the operating room can rpocess and examine biopsy samples
as theya re obtained and can request additional samples to be taken immediately
- EBUS is performed under moderate sedation or general anesthesia.
- Patients recover quickly and can generally go home the same day.