Endobronchial ultrasound scan and biopsy (EBUS)

An endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) uses soundwaves to get a picture of your lungs and nearby lymph nodes from inside the windpipe.

You usually have a biopsy to find out for certain if you have lung cancer. A doctor or nurse takes samples of cells or tissue from the abnormal area. They look at the biopsy samples under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

There are different ways of doing a biopsy. Your cancer doctor or nurse will talk to you about the type of biopsy you will have. This information is about having an endobronchial ultrasound scan and biopsy (EBUS).

An EBUS lets the doctor look into the lungs through the walls of the airways. They use an ultrasound to see the area. An ultrasound uses soundwaves to produce a picture. The doctor takes biopsy samples of the lymph nodes in the centre of your chest.

Before the test, the doctor will give you a sedative. This helps you relax and feel drowsy. They also spray a local anaesthetic onto the back of your throat to numb it. The procedure is the same as having a bronchoscopy biopsy , but uses an ultrasound scan to show the area.

The doctor will pass a thin, flexible tube (bronchoscope) through your mouth into your windpipe (trachea). It has a tiny camera and ultrasound on the end which 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.