Spectrum Health completes 200th diagnostic procedure for lung conditions using robotic technology

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Spectrum Health physicians recently completed their 200th procedure using robotic technology to diagnose early-stage lung cancers, officials say.

The integrated health system’s use of a robotic bronchoscopy platform has resulted in the diagnosis of 20 percent more cases, according to an Oct. 12 news release. This improves patient outcomes by providing access to earlier treatment options with more accuracy.

Two years ago, Spectrum Health introduced Auris Health’s Monarch Platform, an innovative endoscopy tool. More recently, physicians have combined this with Phillips’ Cone Beam CT technology and augmented fluoroscopy to help diagnose with high precision.

“We are equipped with the two leading technologies in the market. By combining these two highly innovative technologies it will allow us to reach any area of concern with unprecedented accuracy,” said Dr. Gustavo Cumbo-Nacheli, director of bronchoscopy and interventional pulmonology for Spectrum Health.

“Soon we will have the ability not only diagnose a suspicious lesion, but also treat these lung nodules during the same procedure. This revolutionary technology is designed to allow physicians to diagnose small peripheral lung nodules with high accuracy, using advanced imaging with a less invasive approach, offering a better experience for our patients.”

While University of Michigan’s Metro Health uses similar technology, there are key differentiators that set Spectrum Health’s apart, says Cumbo-Nacheli.

Metro Health’s Ion robotic catheter, like the Monarch used by Spectrum Health, allows a physician to reach further into the lung with control. However, the Monarch provides uninterrupted vision for the physician which allows less room for error. The Ion does not have this feature.

The combined technologies of the Monarch and Cone Beam CT allow physicians to analyze a 360 degree and three-dimensional image of a nodule, providing a patient with the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Doctors say they are seeing excellent outcomes with new treatment plans for the 200 patients who have undergone this procedure so far.

The platform navigates a flexible robotic endoscope deep into the lungs, precisely guiding an instrument into even the most difficult nodules. It does so all while maintaining vision during the most critical segment of the procedure, the biopsy.

While there are currently a variety of diagnostic options available for lung conditions, this new platform has the ability to improve accuracy and safety in a less invasive manner, according to the news release. The robot allows for more precision than possible with other technology.

“Our robot is the only one in West Michigan that allows us to maintain vision during the entire procedure while Cone Beam CT allows for precision placement of our instruments,” said Dr. John P Egan III, interventional pulmonologist for Spectrum Health.

“This technology, in combination with lung cancer screening and better smoking cessation programs, will help us continue to turn the tide against the nation’s most deadly cancer.”

Officials say Drs. Cumbo-Nacheli and Egan’s experience with the combined technologies has established them as national leaders, helping to mentor other health systems, form high-level partnerships to improve technology and attract patients from throughout Michigan.

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