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Robotic bronchoscopy is an innovative technology we use at The University of Kansas Cancer Center to diagnose lung cancer and other lung diseases. Our team of interventional pulmonologists uses the robot together with 3D imaging to navigate a thin, supple tube with a camera on the end of it into the lungs to pinpoint suspicious lesions. This technology allows our experts to maneuver to all 18 segments of the lungs and obtain a biopsy  ̶  reaching areas we couldn’t access before.

With the robot, we can:

  • Inspect the airways of the lungs
  • Examine and collect tissue samples from the hard-to-reach periphery of the lung
  • Diagnose lung cancer and other lung diseases

The robotic bronchoscopy or robot-assisted minimally invasive lung biopsy we offer uses Ion – a product of Intuitive, the makers of da Vinci, a well-established and FDA-approved robotic surgical system. The instrumentation reduces complication rates, improves success of reaching small nodules in difficult-to-reach locations and improves success of delivering a diagnosis based on the biopsy sample.

Our interventional pulmonology service includes 3 board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional pulmonologists and is the largest and most advanced team in the area. The team works in tandem with interventional radiology and thoracic oncology surgeons at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, to meet the demands for lung biopsy and other specialized procedures.

Who can benefit from robotic bronchoscopy?

Patients who are diagnosed with a lung nodule or lung mass, and need a biopsy, may be eligible to receive robot-assisted bronchoscopy. The procedure is particularly beneficial in helping physicians obtain tissue samples  ̶  especially those in hard-to-reach spots and deep within the lung  ̶  they need to determine the presence of cancer, the type of lung cancer and if there are biomarkers.

Our multidisciplinary team of lung experts carefully evaluates a patient’s chest X-rays and CT scans before determining the best biopsy approach for their particular situation. In general, robotic bronchoscopy is often the preferred approach for lesions deep in the lung or near a major blood vessel or diseased lung.

Robot-assisted bronchoscopy may also benefit patients who have multiple health issues, are still smoking or have other lung disease.

Nationally recognized program

Robot-assisted surgery at The University of Kansas Health System is recognized as a program of excellence and offers the most advanced and comprehensive program within 500 miles. We have the most robots, most robotic specialties and most robotic surgery treatments that lead to improved outcomes for our patients.

As part of a nationally recognized academic medical center, we provide the most advanced lung biopsy treatment options available today. These include surgical biopsy, transthoracic needle aspiration, manual bronchoscopy with or without electromagnetic navigation and robot-assisted minimally invasive lung biopsy.

Early diagnosis and treatment for lung cancer are critical to improve survival rates. It is anticipated that robot-assisted bronchoscopy will improve lung biopsy success rates from 60% to 90%, while operating room time will decrease by half. The procedure will allow us to identify lung cancer earlier – at stage I or II rather than stage III or IV, improving lung cancer survivorship.

To refer a patient for robot-assisted lung biopsy, or to learn more about the lung cancer screening procedure, call nurse navigation at 913-588-3671.

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