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Navigational bronchoscopy for lung cancer

What is navigational bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a sophisticated interventional pulmonology technology that uses a flexible tube with a camera at the end (a bronchoscope) that allows us to look inside the lungs and airway.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) doctors use the bronchoscope to deliver laser and other cancer-killing technologies to tumors buried deep inside the lungs. As a result, we can manage symptoms like bleeding or coughing, open up a blocked airway and treat a very early stage of lung cancer or a previously treated area.

Interventional pulmonology techniques can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments to diagnose lung cancer, treat tumors and relieve symptoms that are limiting your breathing or causing pain.

The lung cancer team at CTCA specializes in advanced, minimally invasive bronchoscopy techniques for many of our interventional pulmonology procedures.

Navigational bronchoscopy medical animation

Video: Navigational Bronchoscopy Medical Animation

Medical animation

Navigational bronchoscopy for lung cancer

A navigational bronchoscopy combines advanced imaging techniques with electromagnetic navigation to help find and treat cancer anywhere in the lungs. This procedure allows doctors to reach distant tumors by advancing the scope into smaller bronchi or bronchi that are blocked by a tumor.

Navigational bronchoscopy procedures may be used to:

  • Suction excess fluid or mucus from the airway or chest.
  • Control bleeding in the airway.
  • Therapeutically remove foreign bodies from the airway, such as aspirated food.
  • Treat growths or tumors in the airway using radiation (such as for HDR brachytherapy).
  • Place airway stents

Balloon bronchoscopy

Another type of navigational bronchoscopy is known as a balloon bronchoscopy. Lung cancer can cause the airway to narrow because of tumors or scarring, a process called stenosis. The result can be difficult breathing. Stenosis also makes it difficult, or impossible, to reach tumors and other tissues that require treatment.

We use balloon bronchoscopy to open airways that are blocking tumors or which require other treatment.

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