OCEANSIDE, Calif., September 28, 2023 – Tri-City Medical Center (TCMC) announced today that it now offers robotic-assisted bronchoscopy using the Ion Endoluminal System. This minimally invasive procedure is used to biopsy lung tissue when cancer is suspected. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and an individual’s survival depends on the cancer’s stage (how far it has spread), type (small cell, non-small cell or other) and location.
“Survival rates improve when lung cancer is identified at stage I or II when the nodule is small and still in the lung,” said Marius Viseroi, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist at TCMC. “For too long, we’ve been limited in our ability to find and treat these tiny malignant nodules located deep within the peripheral lung, resulting in more patients being diagnosed at later stages when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, as well as significantly lower survival rates.”
Now, with Ion, Dr. Viseroi can guide an ultra-thin, flexible catheter through the patient’s mouth and airway to the exact location of the smallest nodule anywhere in the lung. An integrated vision probe allows him to see his movements on a screen and navigate his way to the nodule in real time based upon 3D ‘airway trees’ generated from CT scans of the patient’s lung that serve as a roadmap. Ion’s ‘shape-sensing’ technology provides precise location, stabilization and shape information during the entire process.
“Once I’ve reached the nodule, I lock the catheter into place and insert the Flexision™ biopsy needle through the catheter to take a lung tissue sample,” added Dr. Viseroi. “We immediately do the pathology in the same room and if the cells are malignant, then I ‘tag’ the size and location of the cancer using a special dye. The patient is moved to an OR, where one of our thoracic surgeons removes the nodule that same day. The patient only has to undergo anesthesia once and the surgeon knows the tumor’s exact location. Complications, like a pneumothorax or air leak, at the biopsy site that can cause the lung to collapse are reduced because we access the tumor internally. Ion is a game-changer for both doctors and patients. ”
Intuitive, the company that created Ion and maker of da Vinci robotic surgical systems, is focused on ‘stage-shifting’ lung cancer diagnosis to improve survival rates with its new technology. According to Intuitive, more than 70% of all lung cancer nodules are located in the outer one-third of the lung, an area full of tight spaces and narrow airways that may be hard to reach. Now that doctors have a way to access these areas, they can more accurately diagnosis lung cancer in patients at earlier, more treatable stages. Findings from the multicenter PRECIsE study show that Ion is a safe and effective way to biopsy lung tissue and has a 0% pneumothorax rate requiring a chest tube compared to traditional biopsy methods.
“We are excited to be the first hospital in North County to bring this cutting-edge technology to our local community,” said President and CEO, Gen Ma, MD, FACEP. “Patients who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of lung cancer or are at high risk, now have Ion as an option for early diagnosis.”
Learn more about Lung Cancer and treatments offered at Tri-City Medical Center.
About Tri-City Medical Center
Tri-City Medical Center has served our community for more than 60 years and is one of the largest employers in North San Diego County. As a full-service acute care hospital with three primary care clinics and over 500 physicians practicing in over 60 specialties, Tri-City is vital to the well-being of our community and serves as a healthcare safety net for many of our citizens. The hospital has received a Gold Seal of Approval® from the Joint Commission showcasing a commitment to safe and effective patient care for the residents of the community.
Tri-City Medical Center prides itself on being the home to leading orthopedic, spine and cardiovascular health services while also specializing in world-class robotic surgery, cancer and emergency care. Tri-City’s Emergency Department is there for your loved ones in their time of need and is highly regarded for our heart attack and stroke treatment programs. When minutes matter Tri-City is your source for quality compassionate care close to home. Tri-City partners with more than 90 local non-profit and community organizations as part of our COASTAL Commitment community outreach initiative. Together we are helping tackle some of our communities’ pressing health and social needs.