Ion localizes lung nodules pre-operatively   

Hackensack University Medical Center Thoracic Surgeons Engage Novel Application of Ion System for Pre-op Nodule Localization

Platform typically applied for biopsies provides precision localization immediately prior to robotic surgery

Ion Lung Nodules

While the Ion system from Intuitive is typically a pulmonologist’s tool, providing guidance and accuracy in lung nodule biopsies, thoracic surgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center are engaging the Ion system in a novel way as a surgical guidance tool.

From the patient CT scan, Ion’s planning tool generates 3D airway trees and automatically creates a path and anatomy borders once a target is identified.

Immediately prior to surgical removal of a lung nodule, under the same round of anesthesia, thoracic surgeons spend 10 to 15 minutes using the Ion’s mapping features, applying video-game-like controllers to localize a nodule’s location, now in far-reaching locations they were formerly unable to access.

Once their “GPS roadmap” is established, they switch over to the da Vinci robot, entering between the patient’s ribs, and targeting the precise location for surgical removal. This precision approach has significant patient benefit.

“Patients go home sooner and have less discomfort. There is less robotic manipulation through the ribs, and less lung removed,” said Geoffrey Pelz, M.D., thoracic surgeon.

The team adopted the Ion in June 2020, which proved timely as new screening protocols for 50-year-old individuals are turning up nodules earlier. Surgeons have less tactile feedback to guide them in nodule location with earlier diagnosis. The catheter and sensing technology on the Ion stay in position better than prior methods.

This means surgeons can remove smaller sections of lung. This can be important longer term in the case of a second lung cancer occurrence, giving surgeons more tissue to work with in the next resection.

The Hackensack University Medical Center thoracic team was an ideal fit to engage this surgical application, as they were early adopters of the da Vinci robot and are now home to one of the few Ion systems in the region.

Learn more about thoracic surgery and pulmonary care innovations at Hackensack University Medical Center.

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