A groundbreaking procedure that replaces major diagnostic surgery
Advanced Interventional Pulmonary Program
John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital
250 E. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
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A powerful new outpatient test called endobronchial ultrasound — or bronchoscopy with ultrasound — lets physicians "see" through lung tissue, to test for lung conditions such as lung cancer, lymphoma, Valley Fever and sarcoidosis. The innovative bronchoscopy procedure is a much less risky, yet much more effective alternative to major diagnostic surgery.
The Advanced Interventional Pulmonary Program has been a leader in the use of endobronchial ultrasound. John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital performed the first endobronchial ultrasound procedure in Phoenix, Arizona, in early May, 2008.
The Limitations of Invasive Diagnostic Surgery
Before the endobronchial ultrasound procedure was available, surgeons had to make a major incision between a patient's ribs to sample suspicious lymph nodes or other lung tissue — just so a biopsy could be performed to test for disease.
Diagnostic surgery was very invasive. Yet, it offered the only way to see tissue not viewable with a bronchoscope — a medical device that pulmonologists use to travel through the throat and the bronchial (breathing) tubes to perform medical procedures in a patient's lungs.
In some cases, suspicious tissue located close to the bronchial tubes could be biopsied through the bronchoscope. However, if suspicious tissue was located on the other side of a bronchial tissue wall, surgeons had no means of pinpoint its exact location.
New Bronchoscopy Procedure Helps Surgeons See Through Walls of Tissue
With the new ultrasonic bronchoscopy procedure, specially trained lung specialists can accurately biopsy previously invisible and difficult-to-access lymph nodes and tissue masses with the help of ultrasound images obtained through the bronchoscope.
A miniature ultrasound wand travels with the bronchoscope into the patient's lungs, through the bronchial tubes. Images yielded by the wand allow doctors to see through the walls of the lung tissue to identify suspicious lesions.
Surgeons can view all the major blood vessels, the pulmonary artery and the aorta, and know exactly where to biopsy the lymph nodes.
Finding Disease at an Earlier, More Treatable Stage
Endobronchial ultrasound takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to perform. Patients are usually given conscious sedation; general anesthesia is therefore not necessary.
Once suspicious tissue is targeted, a biopsy needle is used to obtain cell samples, which are reviewed for definitive diagnosis by a specialist from the hospital pathology lab.
In addition to being less invasive, ultrasonic bronchoscopy affords surgeons access to less accessible lymph nodes than those sampled in traditional biopsy. As a result, surgeons can locate evidence of disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.