University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center is home to a potent tool in the fight against lung cancer and other diseases of the chest. An endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) enables pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons to see through the bronchial walls and into lung tissue.
The traditional, non-EBUS approach to transbronchial biopsies relies upon anatomic landmarks to find lymph nodes and masses that are oftentimes in close proximity to large blood vessels and other structures within the chest. EBUS helps to visualize these lymph nodes and tumors, and thus provides more assurance that surgeons are in the location they need to be in order to obtain a biopsy, and that inadvertent biopsies of the blood vessels and other structures can be avoided. EBUS will likely become the modality of choice in many patients for the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer and other diseases of the chest. The equipment also facilitates biopsies of lung masses deep within the lung parenchyma. Ultrasound probes permit better localization of these lung masses, and help to direct biopsy instruments to them.