Interventional Pulmonology Procedures continued...
Rigid bronchoscopy. In rigid bronchoscopy, a long metal tube (rigid bronchoscope) is advanced into a person’s windpipe and main airways. The rigid bronchoscope’s large diameter allows the doctor to use more sophisticated surgical tools and techniques. Rigid bronchoscopy requires general anesthesia (unconsciousness with assisted breathing), similar to a surgical procedure.
Foreign body removal. Bronchoscopy is the preferred interventional pulmonology procedure to remove inhaled foreign objects that are lodged in an airway. A doctor may be able to remove the object using flexible bronchoscopy, or rigid bronchoscopy may be required.
Pleuroscopy. A doctor cuts small incisions in the chest wall and advances a pleuroscope (a type of endoscope) into the chest cavity. The pleuroscope is advanced around the chest wall and lung on one side. Pleuroscopy can diagnose some conditions of the pleura (lining of the lung). Pleuroscopy also allows a view of the outside edges of the lung, which bronchoscopy cannot provide.
Thoracentesis. To drain fluid from around the lungs (pleural effusion), a doctor inserts a needle into the chest wall. A plastic catheter is advanced over the needle, which is then removed. The excess pleural fluid is suctioned out of the chest and the catheter is removed and discarded.
Pleurodesis. Pleurodesis is an interventional pulmonology procedure performed for people with recurring pleural effusions (fluid around the lungs). In pleurodesis, a doctor makes an incision in the chest wall. A plastic tube is inserted into the chest cavity, and an irritating chemical is sprayed around the lung. Over time, the inflamed lung lining (pleura) adheres tightly to the chest wall. This prevents fluid from reaccumulating around the lung.
Indwelling pleural catheter. A pleural catheter is an alternative to pleurodesis for treatment of a recurrent pleural effusion. Through minor surgery, a plastic catheter is tunneled beneath the skin, with its tip placed inside the chest cavity. As pleural fluid accumulates around the lung, a person can drain the indwelling pleural catheter at home, using special sterile supplies.
Bronchoscopic thermoplasty. Thermoplasty is an interventional pulmonology procedure for certain people with severe asthma that can’t be controlled with medications. During bronchoscopy, a doctor applies a heat probe to the walls of the airways. The heat destroys the smooth muscle layers whose constriction contributes to asthma symptoms.