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Temple University Hospital Offering Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Option for Lung Biopsy

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Temple recently became first center in PA to utilize Ion robotic-assisted bronchoscopic system in combination with Philips cone-beam CT and augmented fluoroscopy for lung nodule biopsy

Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP

Temple University Hospital is now offering patients a new, minimally-invasive option for lung biopsy. Temple is using the Ion endoluminal system – a robotic-assisted tool for bronchoscopic biopsy of the lung. The Ion system, manufactured by Intuitive, allows for advanced maneuverability and navigation through narrow airways to nodules far into the peripheral lung. A team from the Temple Lung Center, in conjunction with team members from Temple Anesthesia, Radiology, and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine successfully performed the first four cases at Temple on January 28. 

“We’re pleased to be able to offer this novel, minimally-invasive technology to our patients,” said Gerard J. Criner, MD, FACP, FACCP, Chair and Professor of Thoracic Medicine and Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, and Director of the Temple Lung Center. “This tool allows us to reach areas in the periphery of the lung that were not accessible before, allowing patients to receive an earlier definitive diagnosis and treatment plan, which can give them a better chance of a successful outcome.” 

During the procedure, the clinical team utilizes the Ion system in combination with Philips Allura Cone-Beam computed tomography (CT) technology and augmented fluoroscopy to navigate a thin catheter down the patient’s trachea and into the peripheral lung. The cone-beam CT and augmented fluoroscopy provide real-time imaging of the airway throughout the procedure. Temple is the first center in Pennsylvania to utilize these three technologies in the same procedure.

Once the nodule to be biopsied is reached, the clinical team uses the catheter to obtain the biopsy, which is then sent to the laboratory for analysis. Patients are able to go home the day of the procedure. Depending on the results of the biopsy analysis, patients can then be immediately referred for surgery or further medical care. 

“This novel combined application of robotic bronchoscopy with cone-beam CT and augmented fluoroscopy is a significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with suspected lung cancer,” added Dr. Criner. “The Temple Lung Center is a national leader in diagnosing and treating lung disease, including lung cancer, and this new technology further expands the innovative, leading-edge treatment options available to our patients.”