EBUS is a non-invasive technique that gives your pulmonologist a better view of the lungs and nearby lymph nodes using ultrasound technology inside a flexible bronchoscope tube. It can also help them get tissue and fluid samples from hard-to-reach areas of your lungs.
EBUS is used to diagnose lung cancer, lymphomas, and other diseases like sarcoidosis. It is performed under anesthesia, so you will need someone to drive you home afterward.
What Is EBUS?
During an EBUS procedure, a doctor uses a thin, lighted tube called a bronchoscope. They insert it into your airways and then use it to see a variety of structures in your lungs, including blood vessels, lymph nodes, and pulmonary nodules. They can also take samples (biopsies) with this technique. You have this test in the pulmonology department of your hospital and are usually given a general anesthetic with sedation.
To ensure the best results, you should avoid consuming foods or beverages 24 hours before your procedure. Your doctor will also discuss any medications you may be taking and let you know if you need to stop using any blood-thinning drugs before the test.
Although EBUS is considered a safe procedure with very few complications, you should bring someone to drive you home after your appointment since you will still be slightly sedated. After the procedure, patients may experience some soreness and discomfort, but fortunately, it is short-lived.
What Is EBUS Used For?
When EBUS is used to diagnose lung diseases, it allows doctors to acquire tissue for biopsy. Unlike traditional bronchoscopy, it does not require surgical incisions. Your doctor, Armen Parajian, will perform a comprehensive physical examination to ensure your suitability for the procedure. You may be asked to only eat or drink something for a few hours before the test. You may also be required to stop certain medications that can interfere with blood clotting and prevent proper wound healing.
You will be moderately sedated for this procedure. You must bring a friend or family member to drive you home afterward since you will be too sedated to drive. Some patients experience coughing up a small amount of blood after the test, but this should resolve within a few days. Your doctor will tell you what to expect and what to do if you experience this complication.
What Is EBUS Used For in Lung Cancer Diagnosis?
During EBUS, doctors insert the bronchoscope through your nose or mouth. You may be mildly sedated for this procedure. Your doctor will spray your throat and lungs with numbing medication. Then, they’ll navigate the bronchoscope into the area they want to look at and may use tiny brushes to collect samples. They can also use bronchial washing to wash your airways with salt.
Convex EBUS is a powerful tool for diagnosing early lung cancers that would otherwise be difficult to treat endoscopically. EBUS can confirm disease extent in 28% of patients referred for presumed carcinoma in situ or early cancers and enables the selecting of appropriate patients for surgical intervention. Additionally, EBUS has been shown to change or guide therapeutic decisions during therapeutic bronchoscopic procedures in 43% of cases. These changes include the insertion of longer stents, discontinuing tumor debridement when nearing vessels, and selecting patients for surgical intervention over endoscopic treatment.
What Is EBUS Used For in Lung Cancer Treatment?
The EBUS procedure allows physicians to perform an ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and lymph nodes to diagnose lung cancer and other diseases that cause enlarged lymph nodes, such as sarcoidosis. This is done without having to open the chest wall, which may be more invasive and risky than other surgical techniques.
During an EBUS bronchoscopy, you’ll be given medication through an IV and may be mildly sedated or under general anesthesia. Your doctor will numb your mouth and throat with spray and then insert the bronchoscope into your nose or mouth. The bronchoscope has a camera and an ultrasound probe on it.
The doctor will navigate the bronchoscope to the area they want to look at. The bronchoscope’s ultrasound probe then creates images of the lungs and lymph nodes for your doctor to see, and a sterile 22-gauge needle is inserted into the working channel for TBNA.