Stamford Hospital Adds Minimally Invasive Technique to Expanding Lung Program

Published: July 24, 2014

Stamford Hospital’s Bennett Cancer Center recently introduced a new procedure, called Electromagnetic Navigational Bronchoscopy (ENB), making it one of the only cancer programs in Fairfield County to offer this unique lung navigational system as a minimally invasive alternative for the diagnosis of lung tumors. Previously, patients may have required a needle to be placed through the chest wall, or even thoracic surgery, in order to sample these tumors within the lung.

“This technique allows us to obtain a tissue diagnosis and guide treatment for our patients much more efficiently,” said Michael Ebright, MD, Director of Thoracic Surgery at Stamford Hospital. “The technique requires no needle punctures and no incisions, which translates into less pain and less risk.”

ENB utilizes a telescope fed through the mouth, eliminating the need for an incision. It provides a way to guide endoscopic tools or catheters through the small bronchial pathways in the lung to reach previously inaccessible locations. Using a virtual, three-dimensional bronchial map created with a CT scan, physicians can navigate the telescope to the area of interest, perform biopsies, insert markers or otherwise plan further treatment.

ENB is the latest addition to the comprehensive lung cancer program at the Bennett Cancer Center, and complements the wide range of advanced techniques available at Stamford Hospital. Other surgical treatment options include the use of specialized video cameras and instrumentation (video-assisted thoracic surgery, or VATS), as well as robotic surgery to create smaller incisions, resulting in less pain and a quicker recovery. Non-surgical, yet curative, options such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (CyberKnife) and radiofrequency ablation are available for those patients not fit to undergo a lung operation.

Stamford Hospital’s lung cancer program also features a screening program for individuals at high-risk which has been named a “screening center of excellence” by the Lung Cancer Alliance. The goal for the program is to discover lung cancer at its earliest and most curable stage using low-dose CT scanning. Results are given in real time by a lung cancer specialist.

Care is coordinated by a nurse navigator who helps direct patients and their families through multiple appointments, reduces anxiety and maintains efficiency. The nurse navigator can also help provide access to financial assistance and appropriate social services, as necessary.

“Our comprehensive lung cancer program is the product of intense collaboration among a multitude of specialties including surgeons, pulmonologists, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists,” added Dr. Ebright. “Our patients benefit from this multidisciplinary expertise, delivered with extraordinary efficiency and compassion.”

For more than 20 years, the Bennett Cancer Center has provided the highest clinical standard of care in the area, in a warm and supportive environment. Patients can receive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical treatment and support services in one location in their own community.

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