Interventional Pulmonology


Interventional Pulmonology (IP) is a specialty within pulmonary medicine. IP uses advanced methods to diagnose and treat patients with lung cancer, pleural diseases and airway disorders.


What are the advantages of IP at UT Medical Center?

Interventional pulmonology services are provided on either an inpatient or outpatient basis. The outpatient clinic in Knoxville, Tenn., schedules procedure times in blocks to help patients experiencing respiratory symptoms and to ensure fast results.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center is the only facility in the area with endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) used to diagnosis lung cancer, infections, and other diseases. EBUS can sample tiny lung lesions and eliminate the need for more invasive procedures, and may increase the chance of diagnosing lung cancer at earlier stages. A team of interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons also handles complex airway problems.

The IP program in Knoxville offer state-of-the-art procedures using the latest technological developments to diagnose and manage diseases of the lungs. These procedures include:


Advanced Diagnostic Bronchoscopy

Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a minimally invasive method of diagnosing lung cancer, infections, and other inflammatory diseases. EBUS enables doctors to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes. EBUS also provides real-time imaging of airways, blood vessels, lungs and lymph nodes.

Rigid bronchoscopy is when a bronchoscope is inserted into an airway through the nose or mouth to help doctors look for abnormalities like foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation that could be blocking the airway.

Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy is used to test or biopsy lesions or specimens that are too small or too difficult to reach using other, more common procedures.


Pleural Disease Management

Thoracentesis and pleural biopsy removes fluid or air from the pleural space or body cavity surrounding the lungs. It is used to diagnose or treat diseases within the pleural cavity.

Chest tube with pleurodesis.  removes fluid from the surrounding the lungs, and prevents fluid from accumulating.

Tunneled pleural catheter is an outpatient treatment to help prevent the recurrence of fluid accumulation around the lungs.

Placement of bronchial valves for bronchopleural fistula closure uses valves to close an abnormal connection or passageway between organs or blood vessels (called a fistula) to prevent air leaks.


Artificial Airways

Percutaneous tracheostomy  is a small incision is made in emergency to gain access to the trachea or windpipe.

Transtracheal oxygen catheter delivers oxygen directly to the lungs through a catheter or small, flexible tube that has been placed into the windpipe or trachea.

Therapeutic Bronchoscopy is relief of central airway obstruction caused by tumor or foreign object.

Tracheal or bronchial dilation and stenting relieve difficult breathing.

Treatment of carcinoma in situ treats early forms of carcinoma before the surrounding tissue is affected.

Treatment of tracheobronchomalacia or other benign airway stenosis prevents airway collapse during breathing or coughing.

Placement of catheters for brachytherapy puts catheters or small flexible tubes in to treat different types of cancer.

Placement of fiducial markers for CyberKnife puts fiducial markers that are points of reference or landmarks to help doctors target tumors for treatment.

Whole-lung lavage for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis puts one lung on a ventilator while the other lung is filled with saline and drained. This procedure helps clear out any materials clogging the air spaces in the lungs.