Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a minimally invasive procedure used in the diagnosis of lung cancer, infections, and other diseases causing enlarged lymph nodes in the chest.
Why is it used?
EBUS allows physicians to perform a technique known as transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without conventional surgery.
What makes EBUS different?
During an endobronchial ultrasound:
- The physician can perform needle aspiration on lymph nodes using a bronchoscope inserted through the mouth.
- A special endoscope fitted with an ultrasound processor and a fine-gauge aspiration needle is guided through the patient’s trachea.
- No incisions are necessary.
Benefits of EBUS
- Provides real-time imaging of the surface of the airways, blood vessels, lungs, and lymph nodes.
- The improved images allow the physician to easily view difficult-to-reach areas and to access more, and smaller, lymph nodes for biopsy with the aspiration needle than through conventional mediatinoscopy.
- The accuracy and speed of the EBUS procedure lends itself to rapid onsite pathologic evaluation.
- Pathologists in the operating room can process and examine biopsy samples as they are obtained and can request additional samples to be taken immediately if needed.
- EBUS is performed under moderate sedation or general anesthesia.
- Patients recover quickly and can generally go home the same day.