May 23, 2023 (MADISONVILLE, KY) — Patients at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville will now benefit from a same-day procedure to diagnose lung cancer earlier, using robot-assisted technology.
Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville has invested in the Ion™ endoluminal system for robotic bronchoscopy and began using it with patients this week.
“Robotic bronchoscopy is an approach that helps us safely and quickly access lesions or nodules deeper in the lung, near a major blood vessel or near a portion of already diseased lung,” says Mohan Rao, MD, a general surgeon and Chief Medical Officer at Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville.
“With this approach, we can catch small lung cancers in the early, most treatable stages and avoid subsequent biopsies that delay the process. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner we can begin treatment, giving patients their best chance at a longer life.”
The robotic approach is also beneficial for those with other health concerns, such as severe lung disease or active smoking, both of which can increase infection risk or other rare complications associated with more traditional biopsy options.
Robotic bronchoscopy uses an ultra-thin, flexible tube with a camera in it, going in the nose or mouth and through narrow airways in the lung to the lesion. The catheter can move 180 degrees in all directions and can navigate through the lungs to reach nodules in any airway segment.
Once the nodule is reached, the catheter is locked into place and a needle collects tissue from the mass or nodule. The outpatient procedure, performed under general anesthesia, takes one to two hours. Patients usually go home the same day, with some soreness or numbness in the mouth and throat.
“Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville is investing in leading-edge solutions and the latest technologies such as robotic bronchoscopy to help detect lung cancer earlier, when more effective treatment options are available,” said Dr. Rao. “We want people to know that if they choose Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, they have access to a higher level of care right here in western Kentucky.”
An annual lung CT screening test, which uses a low dose of radiation, can detect the cancer when it’s small. The non-invasive screening is recommended for those most at risk for lung cancer: those over age 50 who have smoked, those who once smoked heavily but quit, those with a history of lung cancer, and those with other risk factors such as exposure to asbestos or who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If an area of concern is located by this screening, the Ion system now allows for biopsy in areas that were not reachable before, leading to faster diagnosis, treatment and better patient outcomes.
Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville has partnered with Ion’s maker Intuitive previously with the purchase of the da Vinci® surgical system. Intuitive is built on more than two decades of leadership in robot-assisted technology. Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville currently has two da Vinci robotic surgical systems at the hospital in addition to the Ion.
To find out if you qualify for a lung screening, talk with your doctor about your risk factors or contact our Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center at 270.825.5800.