Transbronchial needle aspiration with or without endobronchial ultrasound

Ko Pen Wang*, Robert Browning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has been used for over three decades in the diagnosis and staging of mediastinal adenopathy and masses. Although first described in Argentina in 1949 by Dr. Eduardo Schieppati, this rigid bronchoscope technique received very little attention until 1978 at Johns Hopkins Hospital where Wang and colleagues described in detail the diagnosis of a paratracheal mass by TBNA biopsy through a rigid bronchoscope using a 25-gauge esophageal variceal needle. In 1983, a novel flexible needle that could be used with the flexible bronchoscope to perform TBNA was developed and introduced for diagnosis and staging of bronchogenic carcinoma. Immediately to follow was the expansion of its use in the diagnosis of peripheral pulmonary nodules and benign mediastinum and hilar disorders by obtaining histological core specimens. Recent development of the endobronchial ultrasound-guided TBNA is most exciting and promising. Whether this will enhance the result of TBNA and spread the TBNA technique as a standard lung cancer staging procedure is yet to be seen. TBNA is simpler and easier. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided TBNA currently is more complicated and more difficult. Its future relies on a hybrid instrument and methodology to be widely applied to the diagnosis and staging of bronchogenic carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalThoracic Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchoscopy
  • EBUS
  • Transbronchial needle aspiration


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