What is it?

Using a cryoprobe in the lung is a relatively new technique that can be used to obtain tissue samples from abnormal lung (cryobiopsy), remove cancers blocking the airway (cryoextraction) and treat superficial airway cancers (cryotherapy).

 

How does it work?

The technique involves passing a thin probe through a small channel in a flexible bronchoscope and directing it to the abnormal area of lung. When compressed carbon dioxide from a gas cylinder connected to the probe is allowed to expand, it cools suddenly and freezes the tip of the probe. Lung tissue adjacent to the probe tip also freezes and sticks to the cryoprobe and can then be removed. The cryoprobe has several therapeutic uses in the lung. It is usually performed under general anaesthesia through a rigid bronchoscope and patients generally stay in hospital for at least 1 night following the procedure.

Interventional bronchoscopists at Macquarie University and Sleep have been performing cryoprobe procedures since 2015 and recently ran a training course at Macquarie University Hospital to teach other bronchoscopists this technique. Our bronchoscopists are involved in a multicentre cryobiopsy trial and have published original research pertaining to the use transbronchial lung cryobiopsies.

 

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Your doctor will inform you if you need to cease any medications before the procedure. You will be instructed to fast (not eat or drink) for at least 6 hours prior.

A patient information sheet is available to explain transbronchial lung cryobiopsy. Please email Reception@mqrs.com.au for details.