State-of-the-Art Equipment Helps Pulmonologists Diagnose Lung Disease Without Surgery

The Interventional Pulmonology Service at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick uses advanced technologies to see inside a patient's airways, including endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and electromagnetic navigation. Both techniques afford physicians more flexibility in diagnosing and staging diseases of the lungs.

The EBUS procedure is more commonly used, while electronic navigational bronchoscopy (ENB) is employed in more complex cases.

The Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) Procedure

EBUS uses an ultrasound probe at the end of a bronchoscope to guide it. The scope has a channel through which This minimally invasive technique enables the interventional pulmonologist to locate and take samples of tissue or fluid from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes through the bronchoscope, eliminating the need for diagnostic surgery for many patients.

During an EBUS procedure, a miniature ultrasound probe about the width of a pen tip can be inserted into the bronchoscope to extend its reach. The probe takes 360-degree x-ray images of lesions (spots), masses, or nodules in real time to aid the interventionalist in identifying targets and obtaining tissue samples.

The patient can be discharged the same day as the procedure, often without undergoing surgery to diagnose and treat their condition.

Electronic Navigational Bronchoscopy (ENB)

ENB can be used to take biopsies of small pulmonary nodules that conventional bronchoscopy equipment is unable to reach.

This procedure uses the SuperDimension system. A patient's CT scans are loaded into the SuperDimension's computer before the procedure, enabling precise mapping of the lungs.

The patient lies on a bed that has a magnetic plate underneath. Electromagnetic leads are attached to the patient's chest. The equipment transmits signals to the computer, which displays the location of the scope inside the lungs during the procedure. These signals help guide the scope in real time to access lesions deep in the lungs in a very minimally invasive manner, without incisions.

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