Other Innovative Pulmonology Procedures
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Interventional Pulmonology techniques can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments to diagnose your cancer, treat tumors and relieve symptoms that are limiting your breathing or causing pain.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – Our doctors use this technique to destroy tumors and provide relief for symptoms, such as pain. RFA is also used to shrink tumors so they can be more successfully treated by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Using CT-guidance, the interventional radiologist inserts a probe into the center of a cancerous tumor. Next, high frequency electrical currents are passed through the probe to burn the cancer cells from the inside out.
Because the therapy is localized inside the tumor, this interventional pulmonology procedure causes little damage to healthy tissue in the body. Lung cancer patients who have an increased risk of bleeding due to the vascularity of the tumor may be good candidates for RFA.
Thoracentesis – Some patients with lung cancer accumulate excess fluid, called pleura, in the space that surrounds the lungs. A thoracentesis drains excess fluid through a needle or tube inserted into the chest, often with ultrasound guidance. This helps restore fuller, more comfortable breathing and supports other treatment approaches.
Pleurodesis – Our doctors may perform a pleurodesis for patients with recurrent accumulation of excess pleura in the area around the lungs. We use a chemical agent that causes the membranes around the lung to stick together. The agent is injected into the chest through a needle. This eliminates the space between the tissues so that fluid can no longer accumulate there. Before this interventional pulmonology procedure is performed, any excess fluid in this space must be drained with a thoracentesis procedure.
Kyphon Balloon Kyphoplasty – For patients with metastatic lung cancer to the bone who are experiencing spinal fractures, kyphoplasty can rebuild cracked or collapsed vertebrae using bone cement. Using CT-guidance, a probe is guided into the middle of the vertebra. A tiny balloon is inflated inside the bone and the cement is pumped into the balloon. Kyphoplasty helps relieve pressure on the spinal cord and backbone, as well as restore better alignment to the spine.
Hypoxia Altitude Simulation Test (HAST) – Our doctors use this test to evaluate additional oxygen needs for lung cancer patients who will be traveling by airplane. HAST simulates a cabin pressure of 8,000 feet, by asking a patient to breathe a mixture of gases with an oxygen saturation of 15.1 percent. This allows your physician to screen for any respiratory symptom and estimate your supplemental oxygen needs for air travel.
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