Providence Saint Joseph’s Newly Acquired Surgical Tool Allows for Minimally Invasive Lung Biopsies

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Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center today completed its first lung biopsy with the newly acquired and minimally invasive Ion endoluminal system, a robot-assisted surgical tool that allows physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung.

The Ion system features an ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter that provides surgeons the ability to reach far into the lung with more stability and precision compared to manual techniques.

“Adding the Ion system to Providence Saint Joseph is not only big news for our medical center, but for our patients, as well,” said Lisa Laurent, M.D., the hospital’s chief medical. “The goal for any procedure, especially those that involve the lung, is to provide the necessary treatment in the least-invasive, safest manner. When it comes to lung biopsies, this new system allows us to do just that.”

During the bronchoscopy, a physician uses the system’s controller to navigate the catheter to the targeted area in the lung along a planned pathway. The catheter can move 180 degrees in any direction to pass through small, difficult-to-navigate airways and around tight bends to reach all 18 segments of the lung.

Ion’s peripheral vision probe provides direct vision during navigation. Once the pulmonary nodule is reached, the catheter locks into place. A flexible biopsy needle then passes through the catheter and into the lung mass.

While lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths, the five-year survival rate when diagnosed at the earliest stage (IA-1) is 92%. The ION can detect small, early-stage tumors.

“This system allows for more precision, more reach, more stability,” Dr. Laurent said. “It is another amazing tool for us to deliver the best overall care possible.”

The acquisition of the Ion system adds to the robotic capabilities at Providence Saint Joseph, which also includes the Da Vinci XI, another robot-assisted surgical system capable of multi-quadrant procedures in the areas of gynecology, urology, thoracic, cardiac and general surgery.