Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a very effective procedure used to help our doctors see your airway walls and the structures adjacent to your airways. Physicians rely on EBUS to diagnose lung cancer, lung infections, or other conditions that may cause enlarged lymph nodes in your chest.
EBUS is breakthrough technology because it allows our lung doctors to get tissue or fluid samples from your lung and nearby lymph nodes without conventional surgery. Medical laboratories can then perform tests on these samples to diagnose lung cancer and stage the disease, which means EBUS can help determine if lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body. EBUS also helps doctors detect infections, and identify certain types of inflammatory lung diseases, such as lymphoma and sarcoidosis.
How is EBUS Different?
If you had needed a procedure to diagnose a lung problem in the years before EBUS became available, your doctor might have performed an operation known as mediastinoscopy to gain access to your chest. In that procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the neck just above or right next to your breastbone. The physician then threads a thin scope through the opening and down to the lungs and lymph nodes, and collects the biopsy using a needle.
EBUS is different in that our doctors can collect the samples by using a bronchoscope inserted through your mouth to your airways rather than through a hole in your skin. No incisions are necessary. Accurate and fast, EBUS also allows us to access more lymph nodes and smaller lymph nodes for biopsy than conventional mediatinoscopy could ever provide.
The EBUS Procedure
The Endobronchial ultrasound technique combines two technologies, bronchoscope and ultrasound. A bronchoscope is a thin viewing instrument that helps our doctors look at your throat, larynx, trachea and lower airways. An ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the organs and structures inside your body.
For EBUS, our pulmonary specialists use a special scope fitted with an ultrasound processor to guide the tiny needle on its way to the biopsy site. Our doctors then perform a technique known as transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA), which uses a tiny needle to obtain the biopsy samples.
Endobronchial ultrasound provides real-time imaging of the surface of your airways and of your lungs, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. The procedure produces clear images that allow our pulmonary lung doctors to view difficult-to-reach areas easily.