Lasers in Interventional Pulmonology
The lung cancer epidemic has resulted in many patients with malignant obstruction of the central airways. Conventional therapy, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or dilation techniques with rigid bronchoscopy, has proven to be inadequate in relieving symptomatic airway obstruction. Thus, the application of laser technology for the treatment of various tracheobronchial obstructions, using standard rigid and flexible bronchoscopes, has proven to be a major advance in the treatment of these patients and was the original stimulus for the specialty of interventional pulmonology. The successes of laser bronchoscopy have stimulated interest in other endobronchial therapies such as cryotherapy, electrocautery, and brachytherapy.