Treatments for Lung and Airway Conditions

When you need help for severe issues with your lungs and airways, you can turn to Henry Ford Health System. We offer nearly every interventional pulmonology tool that exists, including the very latest technologies. And we have the expertise to provide precise, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.

Henry Ford has one of the busiest interventional pulmonology centers in the United States. That high volume means that we have performed procedures many times, in many different situations. Patients from other states and other countries, including Canada and parts of Asia, seek out our expertise.

Lung and airway treatments at Henry Ford

We use interventional pulmonology techniques to treat patients who have cancer and those who have benign (noncancerous) conditions. Our interventional pulmonologists have extraordinary expertise in repairing airway damage using minimally invasive techniques. We can stop bleeding and close holes created in the lungs.

We offer interventional pulmonology treatments in our Interventional Pulmonology Center and Bronchoscopy Suite, including:

  • Laser therapy: This advanced tool enables us to cut through obstructions and destroy tumor tissue. Lasers can stop bleeding on the surface of tumors or injured tissue.
  • Electrosurgical techniques including electrocautery: Using heat, we can stop bleeding or remove tissue.
  • Argon plasma coagulation: We destroy damaged tissue or stop bleeding with argon gas.
  • Cryotherapy: We freeze and thaw tissue or obstructions so we can remove them.
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): We can use radio waves to heat and destroy damaged tissue or tumors.
  • Stents: We use tiny tubes made of metal, silicone or a combination of materials to keep airways open or close holes in airways.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT): We can inject a drug that responds to a specific laser light to kill cancer cells from the inside, without surgery. Learn more about photodynamic therapy.

Repairs to airway damage

Accidents and trauma can damage the airways inside the lungs. Sometimes, a bad infection can block or damage the airways. Centers with advanced expertise, like ours, can help. We offer experience:

  • Opening airways that are obstructed or being crushed by tumors
  • Managing many forms of tracheal stenosis (scarring of the inside of the airways) and bronchostenosis (narrowing of a small airway called a bronchus)
  • Using state-of-the-art techniques to correct benign (noncancerous) injury to the airways, including:
    • Fistulas, holes between two airways or between airway and esophagus
    • Ruptured trachea or mainstem bronchus, a break in your major airways that occasionally happens after intubation
    • Bronchial stump dehiscence , a complication that sometimes happens after pneumonectomy (surgery to remove a lung), where the surgical wound opens
  • Managing tracheobronchomalacia, a rare disease where the airways soften, and tracheoesophageal fistulas, where an abnormal connection exists between the esophagus (the tube to the stomach) and the trachea (the main breathing tube)
  • Removing foreign bodies
  • Assisting with complications of other diseases that damage the airways

Cancer treatment

 Using minimally invasive procedures, we can remove tumors from inside the airways without surgery. Read more about our treatments for lung cancer.

Bronchial thermoplasty

Bronchial thermoplasty is an airway treatment for severe, persistent asthma. Using a special tool, during a bronchoscopy, our interventional pulmonology doctors treat your airways to help relieve your symptoms. 

Henry Ford doctors performed the first bronchial thermoplasty in the United States, and our patients have been doing well ever since. Learn more about asthma treatment at Henry Ford.

Cryobiopsy for pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease

Some people with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and interstitial lung disease (ILD) require a biopsy (tissue sample) to identify the type of ILD. We offer lung biopsies using minimally invasive techniques. 

We also offer a new technique called cryobiopsy. This technique uses a freezing-cold probe to collect lung tissue. Learn more about pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease

Advanced diagnosis of lung and airway conditions

Our interventional pulmonologists work with our pulmonary and thoracic surgical teams to accurately diagnose lung and airway conditions. Our advanced diagnostics include all types of minimally invasive options to view the airways and obtain tissue samples. Find out about diagnostic services we offer, including Diagnostic Bronchoscopy and Interventional Pulmonology.

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