Silver Cross Catching Lung Cancer Earlier with New Ion Robotic Platform

There’s a powerful new tool now available at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox that’s able to diagnose lung cancer sooner and with greater accuracy than ever before.

The new robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform, called ION by Intuitive (which also produces the da Vinci robot, well-known for many years at Silver Cross), uses an ultra-thin, highly maneuverable robotic catheter to reach parts of the lung not possible through a standard biopsy.

Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross

The addition of Ion to the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross brings the total number of robotic platforms to six at Silver Cross. Since its inception in 2012, the robotics program at Silver Cross has become the busiest in the Chicago area, with surgeons performing more than 12,000 robotic-assisted procedures to date.

“Finding and treating lung cancers early is critical to improving patient outcomes,” explains Dr. Kris McDonough, board-certified pulmonologist on staff at Silver Cross. “With its ultra-thin and maneuverable catheter, the Ion robot is capable of reaching deep into the peripheral areas of the lung, where the robot enables doctors to biopsy suspicious tissue.”

If your doctor found a spot on your lung, commonly called a small mass or nodule, he or she may recommend you have it checked out further. This test is called a lung biopsy. Fewer than 5% of nodules are actually cancer, but your doctor may recommend you find out for sure.

Biopsy involves obtaining a tissue sample from the suspicious area and examining the cells under a microscope to determine if cancer or another disease is present. There are several ways to obtain tissue for biopsy. The biopsy approach your doctor will recommend depends on the size of the nodule, the location within the lung, and your overall health.

Lung Biopsy with Ion

Since Ion enables physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung, it addresses a challenging aspect of lung biopsy. It may also help patients avoid subsequent biopsies by helping enable a diagnosis through the samples obtained.

“The new Ion robot will allow us to access those areas of the lung more easily and biopsy suspicious nodules with greater precision than ever before,” he added. “This is truly a game-changer.”

During the robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, the doctor uses a controller with a heads-up display to navigate the camera-equipped catheter along a pre-planned path through the lung airways. With its 3.5-milimeter size and ability to articulate 180 degrees in any direction, the Ion is capable of reaching all 18 segments of the lung. Once the targeted area is reached, a flexible needle is used to biopsy the suspect tissue.

The advanced features of the Ion robotic navigation system offer an unprecedented level of precision when performing bronchoscopies for lung nodule biopsy.

“Finding and treating lung cancer earlier than ever before is critical,” adds Marybeth Antone, Vice President of Clinical Operations. “This is just the latest step in our efforts to diagnose cancer earlier and provide better outcomes for patients at Silver Cross."

Download ION Lung Biopsy Info Brochure

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.