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Clinical Specialties

Interventional Pulmonology Procedures

The health of your respiratory system can also be referred to as the area of medicine called pulmonology. Within the field of respiratory medicine, there is a relatively new area called interventional pulmonology.

Interventional pulmonology uses endoscopy as well as other tools to diagnose and treat conditions in the lungs and chest, including COPD (Emphysema), asthma, lung cancer and tuberculosis. Interventional pulmonology procedures are offered by respiratory specialists who have undergone additional training. Some of the interventional procedures that are undertaken at the San include:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT)
  • Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Radial EBUS and cryobiopsy
  • Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (ELVR)
  • Dilatation/stenting of airways via flexible and rigid bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a nonsurgical minimally invasive procedure that enables a physician to look inside your lungs using a bronchoscope. Bronchoscopy can help your doctor diagnose lung cancer, many types of pneumonia and tuberculosis. In some cases, bronchoscopy allows your doctor to make a diagnosis without doing a surgical procedure. Flexible video bronchoscopy is a procedure performed to directly visualise airways and allow specimens to be obtained if required.

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is a relatively new treatment used to treat patients with persistent asthma who have not responded well to traditional treatments. It involves three treatments to different parts of the lung on separate occasions where thermal energy is delivered to the airways to reduce excessive smooth muscle. This reduction of smooth muscle can significantly improve the symptoms of asthma by thinning the muscle walls which prevents them narrowing as much when irritants trigger asthma attacks.

Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a method where abnormal lesions in the chest can be sampled without the need for invasive surgery. With EBUS, the pulmonologist uses a special bronchoscope with an ultrasound attachment at the tip of the scope. This technique can be used to perform biopsies in multiple areas, with greater accuracy. Because the pulmonologist can see the needle as it is placed inside the abnormality, the risk of puncturing a blood vessel is minimised. This procedure is used to biopsy lymph nodes in the middle of the chest (EBUS) or peripheral lung lesions (REBUS).

Radial EBUS is used to identify small lesions in the peripheral lung fields that cannot be reached by the bronchoscope.  Using ultrasound the lesion is identified and then instruments are passed through the bronchoscope to the targeted areas.  Such instruments can include biopsy forceps, needles and a new sampling tool - the cryoprobe.  The cryoprobe uses CO2 to freeze the lesion and obtain a larger diagnostic sample.

Endoscopic Lung Volume Reduction (ELVR) is a form of non-surgical lung volume reduction to treat people with severe emphysema. In severe emphysema, damaged lung tissue will gradually lose its elasticity which makes the emptying of air difficult. By deflating these areas with one-way valves (endobronchial valves) the remainder of the lung can function more effectively. This diverts oxygen from the worst affected parts of the lungs to the less affected parts.

Dilatation/Stenting of airways are procedures performed to enlarge and stent open airways that are abnormally narrowed. Interventional pulmonologists have expertise in the deployment of a variety of stents, which are designed for various conditions and functions. They also have expertise in using lasers and cryoprobes to help unblock major airways from tumours or foreign bodies.

Our Interventional Pulmonologists

Sydney Adventist Hospital has a number of Interventional pulmonologists that are qualified to conduct a range of these procedures. They include:

Visit our Find a Specialist section to search all respiratory specialists.

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Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Specialties and Services