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Mercy Hospital

Less invasive ultrasound procedure replaces traditional lung biopsy

For more information about about this procedure, call the lung program nurse coordinator at 763-236-5622.

Suspicious lung spots can be quickly checked out with a same-day procedure that is less invasive and provides speedy diagnosis. And, if lung cancer is present, life-preserving treatment can begin sooner.

At Mercy Hospital’s Procedural Care Department, a new same-day surgery technique allows physicians to view regions of the lungs and surrounding chest area to quickly diagnose lung problems or determine whether lung cancer is present. Called endobronchial ultrasound, the procedure enables physicians to use ultrasound and a bronchoscope for biopsies and to view the surrounding lymph nodes or chest vessels in real time.

Endobronchial ultrasound is less invasive and less costly than traditional means to biopsy this part of the chest, which used to involve a full surgery. Also, patients receive their results almost immediately. Recovery time is much shorter, too.

“Mercy’s investment in special lung-specific ultrasound equipment means that we can provide patients with an outpatient surgical lung procedure that is highly accurate and with a very low chance of complications,” said Andrew Stiehm, MD, a pulmonologist at Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic, who performs the procedure at Mercy.

The Allina Health Abbott Northwestern and United hospitals also have the capabilities for endobronchial ultrasound. “Our north metro patients appreciate being able to have this procedure right here at Mercy,” added Stiehm. “An endobronchial ultrasound can distinguish a cancer with a very good rate of cure from a more serious diagnosis. So this rapid, accurate, safe and inexpensive test is very important to the planning of care and peace of mind of our patients.”