Robotic Bronchoscopy and Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) help to diagnose lung cancer with precision
Robotic bronchoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small, flexible robot to navigate the airways and collect tissue samples (biopsy) for analysis.
A small camera is located at the end of a flexible tube inserted through the mouth, which displays images on to a video screen in a computer console to view the air passages This tube also has a channel through which biopsy can be taken to determine disease diagnosis. The tube can be manipulated with great precision by using a controller (like a joystick) so that even hard to reach areas can be accessed with ease.
This technique also goes by the name of robotic-assisted bronchoscopy (RAB). This robotic system displays a 3-D map of the patient’s lung onto the screen allowing a view of where the tube is in the person’s lung and where it needs to go, guiding the physician to get to the precise disease location. RAB is performed in patients who are diagnosed with a suspicious lung nodule or lung mass that needs a biopsy to find out if it is cancerous or not.
EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound) bronchoscopy is a procedure similar to RAB that examines the air passages and lungs. In addition to a camera, the tube also has an attached ultrasound probe that emits high frequency sound waves to create precise images of the lungs as well as the adjacent lymph nodes to assess their involvement with lung cancer. Tissue samples are collected with a fine aspiration needle for further evaluation.
For RAB procedure preparation, the patient is advised not to eat or drink after midnight. A sedative, through an intravenous line is given for the procedure, the effect of which may last for a few hours even after the procedure has been completed.
Blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level are continually monitored. In case additional oxygen is needed, it is delivered via a face mask. The patient is discharged on the same day, sore throat may occur for which the doctor will prescribe medication.
For EBUS preparation, a protocol similar to RAB preparation is followed on the day of the procedure. After evaluation by the doctors and nurses, anaesthesia will be used. A mild cough and a sore throat may occur, but both will usually go away a day later. EBUS bronchoscopy is also an outpatient procedure, and after a brief observation period, patients are generally discharged.
RAB uses cutting edge technology over traditional bronchoscopy that greatly improves the accuracy in the diagnosis of lung cancer. EBUS is a valuable tool that helps in determining the precise staging of lung cancer to choose an appropriate treatment and offer better patient outcomes and quality of life.