Swedish Medical Center
June 11, 2020

HCA Healthcare/HealthONE's Swedish Medical Center joins a select group of hospitals in the nation, and is the first hospital in Colorado, to introduce a robot-assisted bronchoscopy. The new technology improves accuracy and precision of lung cancer biopsy, enabling surgeons the ability to diagnose lung cancer earlier than ever.

The robot features an ultra-thin, easily maneuverable catheter that can move 180 degrees in all directions, allowing doctors to navigate through small and tortuous airways to reach nodules in any airway segment within the lung. The system's flexible biopsy needle can also pass through very tight bends via the catheter to collect tissue in the peripheral lung, enabling a more precise biopsy and easier surgical experience for patients.

Most lung nodules are small and harmless. But over time, some nodules can grow and even become cancerous. Suspicious nodules larger than 8 millimeters may need to be biopsied. Previously, there were several options for testing a lung nodule, including with a needle inserted into the lungs, with a camera placed in the mouth (traditional CT-guided bronchoscopy) or with chest surgery. But nodules at the outer edges of the lungs are hard to reach with these older methods. With robotic bronchoscopy, a highly maneuverable robotic arm is able to get to these distant areas.

"This new technology allows us to reach places that we could not get to before," said Ellen Volker, MD, interventional pulmonologist at Swedish Medical Center, "the robot helps direct me to these tiny airways. I can diagnose and stage lung cancers in one outpatient setting in a minimally invasive way."

The robot-assisted bronchoscope is the newest robot added to the comprehensive Surgical Robotics Institute at Swedish Medical Center and the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Swedish Medical Center. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact our lung cancer nurse navigator on (303) 788-5166 or visit our lung page.