Doctors use new hi-tech ultrasound probe to diagnose lung cancer

Doctors at UHS are using a new device to detect lung cancers more quickly and accurately – and without major surgery.

The hi-tech gadget, known as an endobronchial ultrasound, uses a highly sensitive camera fitted on the end of a telescope probe to examine the chest in detail after being fed in via the mouth.

Once doctors have located small lymph nodes or tissue that requires further investigation, they can direct a biopsy needle into the area and remove a sample within the 30-minute procedure.

This is looked at by a pathologist during the test so patients leave knowing a firm diagnosis has been made.

Previously, patients who required lymph node testing would have undergone invasive chest surgery under general anaesthetic and faced a three-day stay in hospital.

“This is a fantastic innovation and important addition to our range of services in Southampton as we are able to offer a responsive, immediate service to patients from all around the region” said Dr Anindo Banerjee, a consultant in respiratory medicine.

“Endobronchial ultrasound allows us to examine small lymph nodes and take tissue samples quickly and easily. This speeds up the care of patients with lung cancers and other diseases of the chest who previously might have needed multiple complicated tests to make a diagnosis before treatment could begin”.

For more information on the lung cancer service at UHS, see the clinical effectiveness blog entry on fighting lung cancer by Martin Stephens, associate medical director for clinical effectiveness.

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