Purpose: We describe the first experience of direct bronchial (epi-bronchial) ultrasound to visualize and determine the endobronchial tumor margins for surgical resection.
Description: An ultrasound probe was applied onto the membranous portion of the right main bronchus directly over a pedunculated tumor. The tumor was visualized due to the water content, with a total loss of signal (air-tumor interface) at the tumor edge. A sterile marker was used to outline the air-tumor interface.
Evaluation: Traditionally, surgical technique involves palpation of the tumor with an incision to inspect the endobronchial lumen determining the position of the pedicle, thus estimating the amount of airway to resect. Using direct bronchial ultrasound, the right main palpated margin was 0.5-cm proximal to the ultrasound margin, which correctly identified the tumor margin. The upper lobe palpated margin was 1 cm proximal to the ultrasound margin, which correctly identified the tumor margin. In the intermediate bronchus, the palpated and ultrasound margin were the same and correct.
Conclusions: By using the air-tumor interface, epi-bronchial ultrasound scanning can accurately demarcate the base of endobronchial tumors for surgical resection and reconstruction.