Pulmonary Nodule Clinic
The PinnacleHealth Pulmonary Nodule Clinic is the only multidisciplinary group in the Central Pennsylvania region designed to comprehensively manage pulmonary nodules.
The clinic provides rapid evaluation and treatment of pulmonary nodules by a team of skilled specialists, including thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists and a nurse practitioner. This team works together to:
- Thoroughly evaluate each nodule
- Develop a comprehensive individualized plan of care utilizing the most advanced technologies
- Significantly reduce the time from detection to treatment
A nurse practitioner facilitates each plan and helps each patient understand and manage his or her care process. If cancer is diagnosed, the patient is promptly evaluated by the PinnacleHealth Thoracic Oncology Team. To ensure coordinated and compassionate care, the patient and family meet with a nurse navigator from the PinnacleHealth Cancer Institute. The nurse navigator will assist the patient in understanding the disease and treatment process, arrange supportive services, and guide them through the course of treatment.
What is a Pulmonary Nodule?
A pulmonary nodule is any “spot” in the lung that is less than three centimeters in diameter. Often these nodules cause no symptoms and therefore go undetected. The majority of nodules are found through testing performed for other reasons, such as X-rays or CT scans for pneumonia or abdominal pain. While most pulmonary nodules are benign and come from scar tissue or an old infections, some are early signs of lung cancer and require prompt evaluation.
Treatment plans for pulmonary nodules commonly include “watchful waiting” with periodic appointments to check for changes in shape or size. You may also need a biopsy or surgery to determine if the nodule is cancerous. In any case, our multidisciplinary team employs the most advanced, minimally invasive technologies available to diagnosis and treat pulmonary nodules, including:
- Low dose and volume CT scanning. Innovative technologies that administer up to 80 percent less radiation than conventional CT scans and provide more accurate assessments of nodule size and growth.
- PET/CT. A specialized imaging tool that allows physicians to see early changes in disease on a molecular level and determines the exact location of affected areas to guide diagnosis and treatment.
- superDimension™ Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy. A highly advanced procedure that utilizes GPS-like navigation to provide precise access to lesions deep in the lungs and to mediastinal lymph nodes that are beyond the reach of conventional bronchoscopy for diagnosis and staging. Additionally it can be used to place markers for more exact surgical borders and for the precision placement of CyberKnife® radiosurgery.
- Transthoracic needle biopsy. A technique for obtaining tissue samples of pulmonary nodules or pathologic lymph nodes under radiologic guidance for biopsy.
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery. A minimally invasive approach for evaluating the lungs and chest cavity and performing necessary biopsies and surgeries. With this technique patients have less discomfort, fewer complications and earlier recoveries.
- da Vinci® robot-assisted thoracic surgery. State-of-the-art robotic technology that provides enhanced 3-D viewing of the surgical site for increased accuracy. The surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and translated into fine actions of micro-instruments for surgical biopsy and treatment of pulmonary nodules and other surgical conditions.
- CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System. The world’s first and only robotic stereotactic radiotherapy system that treats tumors with precise beams of radiation. This system provides a highly effective, pain-free, nonsurgical treatment option for malignant pulmonary nodules.
- Personalized approach to tissue analysis. After tissue is collected via any of the mentioned techniques, our surgeons use pioneering technologies — including genetic tumor profiling and chemosensitivity assays — to assist in personalized therapeutic guidance for malignant nodules.