Interventional Pulmonary & Advanced Diagnostics

Schedule an appointment with a UNM respiratory provider. Our team specializes in minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. We treat patients with airway disorders, pleural diseases and cancer.  

Minimally Invasive Treatments

We offer a multidisciplinary approach for our patients at both UNM Hospital and the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our skilled physicians are trained in advanced bronchoscopy procedures, including flexible and rigid bronchoscopy.

Flexible Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopies allow your doctors to view your lungs and airways. We insert a flexible scope with a camera and light through your nose or mouth and down into your lungs. This is used to diagnose and treat lung diseases such as chronic cough, bleeding in the airway or foreign body aspiration. The procedure is performed under conscious sedation and general anesthesia.

Rigid Bronchoscopy

Performed by our expertly trained pulmonary specialists, this procedure uses hollow metal rods, instead of a flexible scope. This procedure is used to treat complex airway diseases and central tumors. The rigid bronchoscopy is used as a dilating and cutting tool with the ability to detect a bleeding area in the airway. The procedure is performed with a highly specialized anesthesia team.

Download bronchoscopy pre-procedure information [PDF] or pleural pre-procedure information [PDF].

We also perform these advanced services:  

Bronchial Thermoplasty

This procedure is only offered to patients with severe persistent asthma despite maximal medical management. A special catheter is used to deliver heat therapy to different areas of the airway. This procedure reduces smooth muscle surrounding the airways, thus reducing bronchospasm.

Transbronchial Cryobiopsy

This lung biopsy procedure is offered as an alternative to surgical lung biopsy in patients with interstitial lung disease. The tip of the catheter freezes to minus 70 degrees Celsius, which allows for a larger biopsy sample when compared to conventional bronchoscopy with forceps biopsy.

Foreign Body Removal

Different bronchoscopy equipment is used in removal of aspirated foreign objects in the airway depending upon the location, size, texture and shape of the object.

Whole Lung Lavage

Patients with alveolar proteinosis are treated with whole lung lavage, usually 20 liters of normal saline, to remove deposited proteinaceous material in the lung. The procedure is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia with a double lumen breathing tube.

Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy

A 3D map of your lung is generated using a special CT scan of your chest and computer software.

Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy (EBUS)

A specialized bronchoscope (a long, flexible tube) with a small ultrasound attached at its tip allows for real time biopsy of lymph glands and tumors located adjacent to the airway. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia to minimize coughing.

Peripheral Ultrasound Bronchoscopy

Specialized small bronchoscopes are used to approach the lung nodule. An ultrasound catheter is then used to confirm the location of the lung nodule before biopsy. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia to minimize coughing.

Ultrasound-guided Chest Tube Placement

Under ultrasound guidance a curved plastic catheter is placed into the pleural space to treat infection and lung collapse.

Airway Stenosis Management

We use special airway balloons and rigid bronchoscope to dilate a narrowed segment of the airway. We provide multidisciplinary care in collaboration with the Division of Otolaryngology (ENT specialist) and the Division of Thoracic Surgery.

Airway Stent Placement and Management

An airway stent is a silicone tube or metal spring-like device that is placed to splint a focal area of narrowing in the airway due to a tumor or scarring. Patients are followed closely for removal once the tumor is treated. The stent can stay in for months to years, so patients are taught airway clearance techniques to avoid stent closure.

Endobronchial Valve Placement

An umbrella-like plastic device is placed to close off a segment of the lung with post-surgical air leak. A balloon catheter is used to find the branch of the airway that is leaking before the placement of one or more valves. These are usually removed after six weeks.

Tunneled Pleural Catheter Placement and Management

The catheter is placed to help patients that have a lot of fluid in the sac around the lungs.

Pleuroscopy (Thoracoscopy)

We perform both flexible and rigid pleuroscopy to diagnose and treat pleural diseases. An 8-millimeter incision is made between two ribs to pass the scope into the pleural space. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and conscious sedation.

Tumor Destruction

A specialized laser, argon plasma coagulation or electrocautery is used to heat treat the tumor located in the airway to minimize bleeding before removal. The procedure is performed with a highly specialized anesthesia team.

Meet Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team includes nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants and doctors with specialized training in interventional pulmonology.