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Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)
Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) is a minimally invasive approach to the sampling of difficult to access lymph nodes or central masses in the chest. Lymph nodes as small as 5 mm can be sampled and the technique has broad applications including the diagnosis and staging of cancers of the lung and other cancers that are suspected of spreading to the lymph nodes in the chest. It is also useful in the sampling of lymph nodes in lymphoma and non-cancerous conditions such as sarcoidosis or tuberculosis.
EBUS involves the patient being put under conscious intravenous sedation; a thin flexible telescope (bronchoscope) is inserted via the patient’s mouth into the lungs. Images of the region between the two lungs (the mediastinum) are obtained using an ultrasound probe attached to the bronchoscope.
The aim of the procedure is to help diagnose diseases that cause enlarged lymph nodes in the chest, and for patients with lung cancer, to establish whether the disease has spread beyond the lung.
It allows physicians to perform the Transbronchial Needle Aspiration (TBNA) procedure to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes with conventional surgery.
- Minimally invasive procedure that can be performed as a day case, using intravenous sedation
- The procedure is very well tolerated and there are no reported significant complications
- The improved images from the ultrasound allow the physician to view difficult-to-reach areas and to access more lymph nodes for biopsy
- During the EBUS procedure a consultant pathologists in the operating room would process and examine samples as they are obtained, and can request for additional samples to be taken immediately if needed. This often allows immediate diagnosis to be made and ensures that adequate samples are taken for all necessary tests, including molecular pathology
- Current evidence suggests that EBUS is a sensitive and specific as surgical mediastinoscopy in staging non small call lung cancer.