Interventional Pulmonology

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Nationally Ranked in Pulmonology

UT Southwestern Medical Center is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals for pulmonology and lung surgery.

The specialized interventional pulmonologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center perform sophisticated, minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat conditions in the lungs and chest. We are experts in advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including robotic bronchoscopy, and pleural procedures.

From lung nodules or masses to enlarged intrathoracic lymph nodes, pleural effusions, and advanced chronic obstructive lung disease, our experienced team can evaluate and treat a wide range of pulmonary concerns.

Minimally Invasive Lung Care: Interventional Pulmonology

Interventional pulmonology offers minimally invasive techniques to evaluate, diagnose, and treat chest conditions. Interventional pulmonologists use scopes and small instruments, rather than open surgery, to access the airways and lungs.

Our interventional pulmonologists work closely with other UT Southwestern specialists to provide multidisciplinary care.

Conditions We Treat with Interventional Pulmonology

Our interventional pulmonologists and their teams can diagnose and treat many types of lung disease, such as:

  • Airway conditions including obstructions, fistulas, strictures, and stenosis
  • Advanced emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
  • Broncho-pleural fistula and persistent air leak
  • Foreign body aspiration
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Lung nodules and masses
  • Mediastinal and hilar adenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes) and masses
  • Pleural effusions (liquid around the lungs), masses and cancers
  • Pulmonary complications and symptoms related to cancer
  • Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis
  • Tumors such as benign airway tumors, airway cancer, and lung cancer

Interventional Pulmonology Procedures


Our interventional pulmonologists perform bronchoscopies, either flexible or rigid, to view inside the lungs and airways for diagnosis and treatment by passing a small scope with a camera into the airways.

Diagnostic bronchoscopy uses:

  • Biopsy to take mucus or tissue samples for testing or examination under a microscope for signs of disease
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage to pass sterile saline through a segment of the lung to test for signs of bleeding, cancer, infection, or other conditions
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) to evaluate and diagnose lung disorders using a bronchoscope with an ultrasound probe to create images of the inside of the lungs
  • Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy combined with low-dose cone-beam computed tomography and EBUS to obtain targeted lung biopsy for nodules, masses or abnormal areas in the lungs.

Therapeutic bronchoscopy uses:

  • Ablation procedures using electrosurgical or laser tools for airway recanalization (reopening a blocked windpipe)
  • Airway stenting to place stents (tiny tubes) into a narrowed airway to keep it open
  • Balloon dilation to open narrowed airways using a small balloon inflated with saline
  • Brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy, to treat lung cancer
  • Bronchial valve placement for bronchoscopic lung volume reduction in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or persistent air leaks
  • Cryotherapy using a thin probe and liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide to freeze and destroy diseased tissues such as cancer or to take biopsies
  • Foreign body removal to remove objects that have been inhaled into an airway

Pleural Procedure

Our interventional pulmonologists perform procedures to evaluate the accumulation of fluid between the lungs and chest well (pleural fluid) and abnormalities of the lining of the lungs or chest wall.

  • Thoracoscopy, or pleuroscopy, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a few small incisions through the chest to access the pleura (lining on the outside of the lungs) with a scope and miniaturized instruments to view and access the outside of the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Pleural procedure uses:
  • Biopsy to take tissue samples for testing or examination under a microscope for signs of disease
  • Pleurodesis to eliminate space between the lungs and the chest wall by adhering the layers of lining together
  • Thoracentesis to drain fluid from around the lungs
  • Tunneled, indwelling pleural catheters to drain excess fluid from between layers of tissue that surround the lungs and line the chest cavity

Clinical Trials

As one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers clinical trials aimed at improving the outcomes of patients with pulmonary disease.

Clinical trials often give patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not widely available. Eligible patients who choose to participate in one of UT Southwestern’s clinical trials might receive treatments years before they are available to the public.