UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital First in Cedar Rapids to Offer Robotic-Assisted Option for Lung Biopsy - MedQ
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UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital First in Cedar Rapids to Offer Robotic-Assisted Option for Lung Biopsy

The MedQuarter | June 23rd, 2022

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital is now offering patients a new, minimally invasive option for lung biopsies using a robot-assisted surgical tool. It allows physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung and potentially diagnose lung cancer earlier. St. Luke’s is the first hospital in Cedar Rapids with this robotic technology.

The Ion Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy System features an ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung, and provides stability and precision needed for biopsy compared to manual techniques.

During bronchoscopy with Ion, the physician uses the controller to navigate to the target along a planned path. The catheter can articulate 180° in any direction to pass through small, difficult-to navigate airways and around tight bends to reach all 18 segments of the lung.

Ion is equipped with a small camera, which gives doctors real time video of the lungs. Once the suspicious lung nodule is reached, the catheter locks in place. A flexible biopsy needle then passes through the catheter to collect tissue.

During biopsy, Ion’s Biopsy Marker feature lets physicians systematically track multiple biopsy attempts and helps visualize different biopsy needle trajectories. If real-time confirmation of a representative tissue sample is available, the physician can redirect subsequent biopsy attempts into the confirmed target area.

“The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of survival,” said Hamad Azam, MD, UnityPoint Clinic – Multi-Specialty pulmonologist. “We are proud to offer this potentially lifesaving technology, which will help us offer the best possible patient care.”

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer (not counting skin cancer) and the leading cause of cancer death.

The Ion system is designed to fit easily into a bronchoscopy suite and integrate with existing technologies in St. Luke’s operating rooms.

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