Endobronchial ultrasound scan and biopsy

An endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) uses soundwaves to look at your lungs and nearby lymph nodes from inside the windpipe.

You usually have a biopsy to find out if you have lung cancer. This is where a doctor or nurse takes a sample of cells or tissue from the abnormal area. They check the samples for cancer cells. There are different ways of doing a biopsy. This information is about collecting biopsies during an endobronchial ultrasound scan (EBUS).

An EBUS lets the doctor look into the lungs through the walls of the airways. They use an ultrasound to see the area and take samples of the lymph nodes in the centre of your chest.

Before the test, the doctor gives you a sedative to help you relax and feel drowsy. They also spray a local anaesthetic on to the back of your throat to numb it.

Then they gently pass a thin, flexible tube (bronchoscope) through your mouth into your windpipe (trachea). It has a tiny camera and ultrasound probe on the end. This shows a picture of the area on a screen. The doctor passes a needle through the wall of the airway and takes samples (biopsies) of the lung and lymph nodes.

An EBUS takes less than an hour. You can usually go home on the same day.