Interventional pulmonology is a relatively new medical specialty, where doctors have completed specialized training in the use of sophisticated technology to diagnose and treat patients with lung cancer, benign lung tumors, and other diseases of the lungs. Carilion Clinic is proud to be able to provide our patients access to the most innovative therapies available, including those that aren't offered elsewhere in our western Virginia region.
Carilion doctors have completed formal advanced training in interventional pulmonology and have many years of experience in evaluating and treating people with lung diseases and difficult airways. Additionally, we also manage pleural effusions, the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity.
The interventional pulmonology program offers a broad array of minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Some of the interventional techniques that we perform are:
- Flexible and rigid bronchoscopy – Using a lighted tube with a camera, we are able to visualize the inside of the airway and lungs so that we can diagnose and treat certain problems. We are able to remove airway tumors, place stents, control bleeding and obtain tissue samples in a minimally invasive manner.
- Endobronchial ultrasound – By combining ultrasound with bronchoscopy, we are able to see structures inside and next to the airway. This permits us to perform accurate and safe fine needle aspiration, so we can take samples of tissue without surgery.
- Narrow band imaging – When bronchoscopy is performed, we can use the wavelengths of colors to help detect and examine abnormalities in the lining of the respiratory tract that may not be visible to the naked eye.
- Cryobiopsy – This advanced technique allows us to obtain high-quality specimens of lung tissue so that diagnosis is more accurate.
- Management of pleural effusion – When fluid builds up in the chest cavity, breathing difficulty and chest pain can result. We have several options available for managing pleural effusion, and we will create a treatment plan on an individual basis after consulting with other members of the multidisciplinary team. In many cases, placing a chest tube, which can be done at bedside, can relieve discomfort and aid in breathing.