Most nodules (spots) are found accidentally on an imaging test of the chest area done for another reason. Occasionally, patients with lung nodules present with a chronic cough, wheezing and shortness of breath or are coughing up blood. If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, it is essential that you come for an evaluation at the Beth Israel Lung Nodule Center. The earlier lung nodules are identified, the more successfully they can be managed. More importantly, if these nodules are found to be malignant, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment at an early stage leads to the best chance for a complete cure.
When a lung nodule is spotted, more diagnostic tests may be recommended, including:
Additional imaging studies: CT scanning (computed tomography) as well as PET scanning (positron emission tomography) may be necessary.
If tissue diagnosis becomes necessary, our physicians may use any of the following biopsy techniques:
Bronchoscopy: A minimally invasive way to look into the airway using a fiber-optic camera mounted on a thin flexible endoscope.
Endobronchial ultrasound: An advanced bronchoscopic technique which uses an ultrasound probe at the tip of the endoscope, providing accurate visualization as well as real-time imaging of the biopsy needle as it is directed into the target.
Transthoracic needle biopsy: Tissue for diagnosis is obtained in a minimally invasive manner using a hollow needle inserted through the chest wall that is then directed into the nodule in question by image-guided techniques.
Minimally invasive lung surgery: This includes state-of-the-art techniques—such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or robotic-assisted thoracoscopic approaches. These minimally invasive procedures use small incisions, 3D high-definition video cameras, and special flexible instruments that allow the surgeon to obtain tissue for diagnosis with the least amount of trauma, pain, and physical disruption to the patients.
Thoracic Oncology: If the lung nodule is found to be malignant (cancerous), a full evaluation by a lung cancer specialist is critical to successful treatment. The Beth Israel Lung Nodule Center works closely with a dedicated team of radiation and medical oncologists to provide the latest in the multidisciplinary management of pulmonary malignancies.