Minimally invasive approach to biopsy, diagnose and stage lung cancer
Physicians at Doylestown Hospital perform biopsy, diagnosis and staging of lung cancer using the latest minimally invasive procedure called endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS).
In the past, to perform lung cancer biopsy an inpatient surgical procedure called mediastinoscopy was required. During mediastinoscopy, a series of incisions are made in the chest under general anesthesia and the physician inserts a bronchoscope (a thin, lighted, flexible tube) to collect tissue samples.
Now, through EBUS, physicians can achieve the same, accurate results using a convenient minimally invasive diagnostic procedure performed on an outpatient basis. Physicians and medical staff at Doylestown Hospital have completed specialized training to bring this advanced procedure to the community.
About Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Although X-ray and low-dose CT scans may detect the presence of lung cancer, a lung biopsy (tissue sample) is required to confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage of the disease.
How EBUS is Performed to Diagnose Lung Cancer
To perform EBUS, a bronchoscope is fitted with an ultrasound device (a device that uses sound waves to make pictures of the inside of your body) at its tip. The bronchoscope is passed through the mouth and into the windpipe to look at nearby lymph nodes and other structures in the chest. This is done with numbing medicine (local anesthesia) and light sedation. Then, a hollow needle can be passed through the bronchoscope and guided by ultrasound into an area of concern to take biopsy samples of lung tissue, lung fluid or lymph nodes.
Frequently Asked Questions About EBUS
- How long does the EBUS procedure take?
The procedure typically takes less than an hour depending on how many biopsies need to be taken.
- Is EBUS painful?
Having a biopsy taken can be uncomfortable but should not be painful. If you have any pain during or after the procedure, please notify your physician or nurse.
- Can I eat or drink after the EBUS procedure?
You will not be able to eat or drink anything until the local anesthetic has worn off because your throat will be too numb to swallow safely. The numbness typically wears off after approximately one hour. At that time you will be allowed to go home.
- Can I drive after the procedure?
You must not drive, operate dangerous machinery or sign legally binding documents for 24 hours after the sedation.
- What are the side effects of EBUS?
You may have a mild sore throat for a couple of days after the test, but this will soon disappear. It is normal to cough up a small amount of blood for a day or two after the test. However, if you feel very unwell, develop a fever, or cough up a large amount of blood, you should contact your physician or call 9-1-1 depending on the severity of your symptoms.
- When will I find out the results?
The test results should be available within two weeks. The report will be sent to the physician who ordered your test and shared with you at your next appointment.