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Interventional Pulmonology

The Interventional Pulmonology Service at UT Southwestern Medical Center offers minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat many lung diseases without the need for traditional open surgery. Our skilled specialists provide exceptional care using the latest technology to help patients feel better and live a more active life.

US News High Performing Pulmonology 2019-20

Recognized Care in Pulmonology

UT Southwestern Medical Center earned High Performing recognition for pulmonology from U.S. News & World Report for 2019–20, placing us among the nation’s leading hospitals for the treatment of lung diseases and disorders.

Minimally Invasive Lung Care: Interventional Pulmonology

For people who are having difficulty breathing, interventional pulmonology offers minimally invasive ways to evaluate, diagnose, and treat lung conditions. Interventional pulmonologists (physicians who specialize in treating lung diseases with minimally invasive methods) use scopes and small instruments, rather than open surgery, to access the airways and lungs.

The Interventional Pulmonology Service at UT Southwestern includes specialists in lung disease who have advanced training in bronchoscopy and other minimally invasive procedures for diagnosis and treatment. Our physicians are involved in clinical and outcomes research related to interventional procedures, such as new treatment methods for central airway obstruction, management of persistent pulmonary air leaks, and volume reduction approaches for emphysema.

The Interventional Pulmonary Service works closely with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at UT Southwestern.

Conditions We Treat with Interventional Pulmonology

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

Lung CT Scan

Early Detection. Peace of Mind. Get Screened.

UT Southwestern offers low-dose CT screening for lung cancer to look for signs of cancer in people at the highest risk of developing it. Patients who are over age 55 and have smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years have a high enough risk to be screened.

Diagnostic Bronchoscopy and Interventional Pulmonology Services

Our interventional pulmonologists use a minimally invasive procedure called bronchoscopy to see inside the lungs without the need for open surgery. We use bronchoscopy to both diagnose and treat lung diseases, injuries, and other airway conditions such as lung cancer.

A bronchoscope is a hollow, flexible tube with a light and a camera that can take photos or video to help with diagnosis. Our doctors can use the bronchoscope to take lung tissue samples to examine under a microscope for signs of disease, infection, or other problems.

At UT Southwestern, our skilled interventional pulmonologists are experienced in many bronchoscopic procedures to treat a wide range of lung diseases or injuries. Because these interventions require no (or sometimes only a few small) incisions, patients can usually go home the same day. 

Diagnostic Bronchoscopy

Our diagnostic bronchoscopy procedures include:

  • Bronchoscopy, either flexible or rigid, to view inside the lungs and airways for diagnosis or treatment
  • Biopsy to take mucus or tissue samples for testing or examination under a microscope for signs of disease
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage to pass sterile water 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

Bronchoscopy for Treatment

Our therapeutic bronchoscopy interventions include:

  • Ablation procedures for airway recanalization (reopening a blocked windpipe)
  • Airway stenting to place wire mesh stents (tiny tubes) into a narrowed airway to keep it open
  • Balloon bronchoplasty to open narrowed airways using a small balloon inflated with water
  • Brachytherapy, a type of radiation therapy, to treat lung cancer
  • Cryotherapy using a thin probe and liquid nitrogen or other substance to freeze and destroy diseased tissues such as cancer
  • Foreign body removal to removed objects that have been inhaled into an airway

Thoracoscopy for Diagnosis and Treatment

Our physicians also perform thoracoscopy, or pleuroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a few small incisions through the chest to access the pleura (lining on the outside of the lungs). Thoracoscopy uses 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.

Some of the thoracoscopy procedures we offer include:

  • 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

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