Interventional pulmonology (IP) is a subspecialty of pulmonary medicine. It focuses on the use of minimally invasive endoscopic (going through the windpipe) and percutaneous (going through the skin into the lung) procedures for diagnosis and treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases of the airways, lungs, chest lymph nodes and pleura. Many IP procedures have replaced more traditionally invasive surgical procedures for diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases because there is less trauma, faster recovery and reduced risk of complications for the patient.
Interventional Pulmonology procedures are a key part to diagnosing, staging and treating lung diseases and cancers. Typically IP procedures are used in combination with radiographic imaging (PET scans, CT scans and ultrasounds) to find if a cancer has spread in the lung, lymph nodes and other structures in the chest.
As part of the lung cancer program, we work closely with surgeons, and medical and radiation oncologists, to quickly and accurately stage primary lung cancers and other cancers that have spread to the lungs.
Some cancers can partially or completely block airways, causing shortness of breath or pneumonia. An interventional pulmonologist uses lasers, cryo-debridement (a liquid nitrogen freezing procedure) and medications separately or in combination to open airways and relieve the obstruction and improve symptoms of shortness of breath.
Learn more about the Interventional Pulmonology Program as part of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Lung Cancer Program.