For lung cancer, Lymph Node staging is of paramount importance for the treatment planning process and prognosis.
What is EBUS?
Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a relatively new procedure used in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer, infections, and other diseases causing enlarged lymph nodes in the chest. It is a minimally invasive procedure that has proven highly effective.
EBUS allows physicians to perform a technique known as transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without conventional surgery. The samples can be used for diagnosing and staging lung cancer, detecting infections, and identifying inflammatory diseases that affect the lungs.
Conventionally a diagnostic procedure, known as mediastinoscopy was performed by cardiothoracic surgeons. This was a minor surgical procedure that provided access to the chest with an incision made in the neck just above the breastbone or next to the breastbone. Tissue was then collected via biopsy.
However, using the new endobronchial ultrasound procedure, the physician can perform needle aspiration on lymph nodes using a bronchoscope inserted through the mouth. No incisions are necessary.
Benefits of 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 to access more, and smaller, lymph nodes for biopsy with the aspiration needle than through conventional mediatinoscopy.
EBUS is performed under moderate sedation or general anesthesia.
Patients recover quickly and can generally go home the same day