WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center offering robotic-assisted minimally invasive lung biopsy procedure

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center is now offering a new platform for minimally invasive biopsy in the lung.

The Ion endoluminal system by Intuitive is a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy tool designed to help physicians obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung. Using the Ion, physicians are able to diagnose lung cancers earlier and less invasively.

The first cases of robotic-assisted lung biopsy at Berkeley Medical Center were performed in late October by board-certified pulmonologists Phillip Aguila, M.D., Richard Catlett, M.D., and Feroz Noori, M.D. According to Dr. Catlett, bronchoscopy with the Ion provides more reach, stability, and precision than ever before. 

“The Ion represents a huge leap forward for minimally invasive pulmonary procedures,” Catlett said. “It not only gives us greater access to the airways but provides enhanced stability and precision that will lead to a higher success rate in the diagnosis of small nodules that are unable to be safely biopsied using traditional methods.”

The Ion features a vision probe that provides real-time visualization of the airway and an ultra-thin and maneuverable catheter that is able to navigate far into the peripheral lung. During the bronchoscopy, the physician uses the Ion’s controller to navigate the catheter along a targeted path towards a lung nodule where a biopsy is performed. The catheter’s 180-degree articulation allows it to reach all 19 segments of the lung by rotating in any direction and passing around tight turns to areas that are typically difficult to access.

Berkeley Medical Center offers a comprehensive program for lung cancer strategically designed to increase survival rate through early detection. As part of this program, a new lung cancer screening initiative was launched in 2020. Using low dose CT scans, high-risk populations can be screened for nodules that could indicate cancer. If a nodule is detected, a biopsy may be recommended.

Using the Ion, physicians are able to perform less invasive biopsies via the patient’s windpipe which reduces the risk of complications. Dr. Aguila said robotic-assisted bronchoscopy in conjunction with low-dose CT scan will allow smaller nodules to be diagnosed earlier, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

“Our goal is to increase our patients’ five-year survival rate by detecting and diagnosing lung cancer as early as possible,” Aguila said. “In order to do that, we continually explore innovative solutions to existing challenges. We are proud to bring the Ion to Berkeley Medical Center and offer this revolutionary procedure for our patients.”

For more information about Berkeley Medical Center, visit WVUMedicine.org/Berkeley


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21 – Nov.

CED:  11-8-21