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Electromagnetic Navigation

Electromagnetic Navigation

Electromagnetic Navigation is an innovative procedure using electromagnetic technology, which allows steer ability and movability to obtain tissue samples of lung masses. As a pioneer and a leader in this breakthrough technology, UC San Diego Medical Center is proud to offer our patients this minimally invasive alternative to surgery.

ENB enhances the ability for physicians to diagnose and potentially treat a variety of lung diseases, including lung cancer. Physicians use specialized software to digitally identify targets using images from CT scans and then guide a bronchoscope to the target. By manipulating a variety of small, flexible tools inserted through the bronchoscope, physicians are able to image and biopsy mediastinal lymph nodes and distal lesions. UC San Diego Medical Center is the only center south of Orange County using this advanced ENB technology.

Why is it used?

  • Allows physicians to perform highly diagnostic, minimally invasive pulmonary bronchial procedures
  • ENB is a novel option for patients who would otherwise undergo surgery or are not surgical candidates
  • ENB can also be used in patients with lung cancer to place radio markers that help oncologists target radiation to lung tumors
  • Markers can also be placed around pulmonary nodules to aide in tactile localization by the thoracic surgeon at the time of the nodule resection

What Makes ENB Different?

  • Less risk with a higher degree of accuracy compared to other procedures
  • An extremely safe procedure that allows for maneuverability of instruments
  • ENB gives physicians access to peripheral nodules or masses, as well as placement of radio markers

Benefits of ENB

Electromagnetic Navigation  
  • May increase the chance of diagnosing lung cancer in earlier stages
  • Less risk of complications, like bleeding or puncturing the lung

All referrals will still have the option of continuing their treatment with their primary care physicians after the ENB procedure.

Appointments & Referrals

NOTE: All referrals will still have the option of continuing their treatment with their primary care physicians after the ENB procedure.

Interventional Pulmonology Location

Meet Our Specialist

GPS Tracks Down Lung Cancer


Natalie Barnhill was diagnosed with lung cancer. Dr. Samir Makani at UC San Diego Health System used electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy to biopsy the lesion. Traditional biopsy of lung cancer involves using a needle through the chest and into the lung which can cause bleeding and collapse of the lung. The new GPS-like biopsy method enables doctors to definitively diagnose lung cancer in areas of the lung that are hard to diagnose so that treatment can be started earlier.