Explore This Treatment Program

Our Approach

A Less Invasive Way to Treat Pulmonary Patients

The Mass General Interventional Pulmonology Program manages patients with complex respiratory problems, including lung cancer and pleural disease, using techniques that are less invasive than traditional surgical methods. These techniques often reduce the recovery time, complication rate and discomfort associated with more invasive procedures.

Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Care

As part of providing optimal care, we collaborate closely with colleagues in other specialties, including thoracic surgery, oncology, rheumatology and infectious diseases.

For the patient who needs therapy in addition to pulmonary intervention, we work closely with his or her referring physician and treatment team. When a patient is diagnosed with lung cancer, we collaborate with specialists at the Mass General Cancer Center, located next to our office building at the hospital's main campus.

What to Expect

Patient care begins with an evaluation by one of our interventional pulmonology specialists. Before your first appointment, please ask your referring physician to send us your medical records and test results, especially X-rays or other images. Because our diagnostic procedures are minimally invasive, most can be performed on an outpatient basis in our office.

Advancing Pulmonary Care Through Research

Our team is committed to advancing research in the field of interventional pulmonology. We are involved in several initiatives that could result in major breakthroughs in the care of patients. These include:

  • A bio-absorbable stent for opening blockages in airways
  • Optical frequency domain imaging for even clearer pictures of the lungs and airways
  • Optical coherence tomography for real-time, 3D images of the airway

In addition, we are involved in clinical trials with the Mass General Center for Thoracic Cancers to develop therapies for lung cancer.

About This Program

The Interventional Pulmonology Advantage

Our experienced clinical team treats patients with challenging airway and pleural disorders by using highly specialized procedures and today's leading-edge technologies.

Treating the Full Range of Respiratory Disorders

Our program diagnoses and treats the complete range of central airway, lung and pleural diseases, from chronic respiratory disorders to benign and malignant lung tumors:

  • Bronchial disorders (e.g. airway tumors and narrowings, airway collapse, also known as tracheobronchomalacia)
  • Lung diseases (e.g. cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary infiltrates)
  • Pleural effusion, an abnormal buildup of fluid around the lung

For referring physicians, we serve as a resource for their patients who have persistent respiratory symptoms that defy normal diagnosis. For patients with known lung diseases requiring further evaluation, we perform a wide range of advanced diagnostics, such as lung-cell sampling to test DNA, which can help in developing a targeted and personalized treatment plan for cancer.

Minimally Invasive Diagnostics & Therapies

The techniques and devices we use in interventional pulmonology are among the most innovative available, and our physicians and nurses are experts in using them to diagnose and treat our patients.

Innovations are emerging continually, and we embrace those that are clinically tested and clinically approved.

Some of the specialized diagnostic procedures we provide today include:

  • Flexible bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) of the central airways and lung
  • Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy
  • Pleural biopsy

Therapies we administer include:

  • Rigid bronchoscopy
  • Balloon dilatation of airways
  • Endobronchial radiation therapy
  • Airway laser therapy
  • Airway stent placement
  • Spiration, one-way valve placement for air leaks from the lung
  • Ultrasound-guided thoracentesis
  • Pleurodesis
  • Tunneled pleural catheter placement
  • Transtracheal oxygen catheter placement
  • Large-volume pulmonary lavage
  • Percutaneous tracheostomy

Additionally, the onsite laboratories at Mass General offer the complete spectrum of diagnostic tests—such as cytology, pathology and microbiology—that help us make prompt and comprehensive diagnoses.

An Expert & Caring Clinical Team

How we administer care to patients is about much more than mastering advanced technologies and procedures. Our clinical practitioners have chosen this field because they understand how respiratory diseases affect quality of life, and they want to administer therapies our patients can tolerate more easily. The clinical team includes a fellowship-trained pulmonologist, nurses and nurse practitioners.

Our director, Colleen Channick, MD, founded the Interventional Pulmonology Program at Mass General in 2009 after serving as director of an Interventional Pulmonary Unit at a major medical center in San Diego.

Dr. Channick has performed thousands of minimally-invasive pulmonary procedures and is an expert in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of lung, pleural and central airway disorders. She teaches other physicians highly specialized pulmonary procedures and focuses her research on developing and testing the next generation of interventional devices and techniques.