Since its inception in July 2008, MSK’s interventional pulmonology (IP) team has offered a new minimally invasive armamentarium in diagnostic, palliative, and therapeutic procedures for patients with malignant airway, pleural, or lung parenchymal disease. The IP Section, with three IP attending physicians and the first IP fellowship in New York City and New York State, has become a nationally and internationally recognized program with extraordinarily high volume for our field and excellent outcomes.
Our IP team, in conjunction with thoracic surgery, heads MSK’s complex airways program. Working together, we treat patients with related diseases with bronchoscopy, laser, stenting, or highly specialized surgical techniques such as tracheal resection and reconstruction and tracheobronchoplasty. These surgical procedures are performed at only a few highly specialized centers in the world.
Pleural-space diseases are a common problem when cancer has spread to the chest. We specialize in simple and complex diseases of the pleural space. We perform thoracentesis (drainage of fluid surrounding the lung) using ultrasound; place indwelling pleural catheters (PleurX, which allows the patient to go home and manage fluid drainage); place chest tubes with pleurodesis (sealing of the pleural space to prevent further fluid accumulation); and perform medical thoracoscopy (a procedure that allows us to look in the pleural space to drain fluid and remove scar tissue).
Lung-volume reduction surgery is proven to help patients with certain types of emphysema. We are evaluating techniques to achieve the same results using bronchoscopy instead of lung surgery. We hope to include this modality in the near future for our patients with emphysema to improve their quality of life and their ability to tolerate lung cancer surgeries if they have limited lung function.
The Pulmonary Service hosts an annual CME course every September. This course has been well received by national and international participants from multiple medical and surgical specialties.
Complex Airway Diseases