Recently, researchers have used new methods to improve lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.
They have found that interventional pulmonology, or IP, can offer many minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat both benign and tumors of the lungs and airways.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Michigan.
According to Michigan Medicine interventional pulmonologist Jose Cardenas-Garcia, M.D., the foundation of IP is endoscopy.
In this procedure, a doctor remotely manipulates tiny imaging or surgical tools through a thin tube placed in the body.
It can help look for and treat tumors, bleeding or inflammation in the lungs or airways. It can also obtain fluid samples or tissue biopsies for testing.
Patients don’t need to experience surgery, hospitalization or long-term recovery.
The researchers suggest that IP plays a prominent role and offers both diagnostic and treatment alternatives that were not available just a few years ago.
In traditional treatments like radiation therapy, patients may need to lie flat.
However, if their tumors, bleeding or inflammation blocks airways and they cannot breathe lying down, they have to stop the treatment.
In IP treatment, doctors can remove obstructions or implant stents to clear airways. Patients can resume treatment and/or return home right away, breathing better.
In addition, IP procedures can drain pleural fluid, which exists in the membrane surrounding the lungs that impair breathing. Patients can operate to drain fluid at home if the problem persists.
So far, a number of these procedures have used heat, cryotherapy or lasers to remove tissue or control bleeding.
The Michigan Medicine team is now testing new endoscopic techniques to diagnose and treat lung lesions.
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