Innovative Technology Targets Trouble Deep in the Lungs

Abnormal findings or lesions in the lung may be caused by infection, inflammation or cancer. However, if they're found on a traditional X-Ray or CT Scan, doctors can't always make a diagnosis. Further testing is needed to identify the cause of the problems. Bronchoscopy is a pulmonary procedure where physicians examine the major air passages of the lungs through a thin, lighted tube called a bronchoscope. Doctors use bronchoscopies to evaluate the lungs and collect small tissue samples - or biospsies - to diagnose lung disease and lung cancer.

"The lung cancer team at Jupiter Medical Center specializes in the most advanced, minimally invasive bronchoscopy techniques," says Kenneth Fuquay, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist. He and his colleague, Rogelio Choy, MD, are able to offer patients many benefits thanks to these sophisticated techniques. "We are able to minimize the risks of more invasive dagnostic surgeries."

Ion Robotic Assisted Bronchoscopy

Ion Robotic Assisted BronchoscopyIf a spot or nodule has been found on your lung, a biopsy may be recommended. Fewer than 5% of all nodules are cancer, but the only way to know for certain is to have a biopsy. This involves obtaining a tissue sample from the suspicious area and examining it under a microscope to determine if cancer or another disease is present.

Robotic bronchoscopy can enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of lung nodules. Traditional bronchoscopy is less likely to detect nodules that are small or in hard to reach areas of the lung, this can result in a delayed diagnosis.

Innovative Technology

Jupiter Medical Center’s Thoracic Surgery and Lung Center of Excellence has added Intuitive’s Ion Robotic-Assisted Bronchoscopy technology for lung nodule biopsies. Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy allows physicians to visualize and biopsy parts of the lung that were previously inaccessible. Physicians use a hand-held controller to precisely navigate a small, flexible endoscope into the lung. The Ion system can reach all segments of the lungs, has an ultra-thin catheter that can move 180 degrees in all directions, a flexible biopsy needle, and shape-sensing technology to provide the precise location and shape information throughout the biopsy process. This technology enables a successful biopsy.

The Patient Experience

Highly trained, specialized physicians perform robotic-assisted bronchoscopy. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in our dedicated bronchoscopy suite. The procedure itself usually lasts less than an hour. Tiny pieces of the nodule or lung tissue will be examined under a microscope, and results are generally available within a few days.

Our team of physicians believe that robotic bronchoscopy is the standard of care for difficult to reach lung nodules. Identifying nodules earlier, when they are smaller, can translate to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes.

For more information, call our Lung Navigator at 561-263-3671.

Navigational Bronchoscopy

A traditional bronchoscopy can’t reach deep into the lungs, where nearly 2/3 of all lung lesions are. Navigational bronchoscopy works in a similar fashion to the Global Positioning System (GPS) in your car. A CT scanner creates a 3-D image of the lungs, and the physician maps a route to the lesions. While the patient is anesthetized, a bronchoscope with electromagnetic sensors is moved down into the airways of the lungs. The instruments feature 360-degree steering, and the sensors allow the physician to track the bronchoscope's exact location.

Once the target lesions are reached, tiny surgical instruments are passed through the bronchoscope to collect a biopsy from the lesion for testing and diagnosis. “Navigational bronchoscopy is minimally invasive compared to percutaneous lung biopsy procedures. (A percutaneous biopsy is a biopsy that is obtained by putting a needle through the skin in order to obtain tissue for examination). It also requires less time for recovery and can be done on an outpatient basis,” adds Maung Kyaw Oo, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist and medical director of pulmonary rehabilitation at Jupiter Medical Center.

This procedure is used to:

  • Find and biopsy suspicious masses
  • Suction excess fluid or mucus from the airway or chest
  • Control bleeding in the airway
  • Treat tumors in the airway
  • Place airway stents
  • Place catheters in vital areas of the lungs