CHI Memorial Introduces the Ion Endoluminal System for Lung Bronchoscopy


CHI Memorial has invested in life-changing technology – the Ion by Intuitive endoluminal system, a minimally invasive robotic assisted bronchoscopy procedure designed to address a challenging aspect of lung biopsy. The system represents an advancement in procedures that enable physicians to reach nodules far into the peripheral lung and provide them unprecedented stability and precision needed for biopsy.

“The Ion features an ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung where it has been traditionally difficult to obtain a biopsy from the center of the lesion.  ION’s robotic platform is always stable, and there’s total control of catheter placement. This offers a level of precision previously unavailable – and it leads to better diagnostic information used to effectively treat lung cancer,” says Krish Bhadra, MD, interventional pulmonologist with CHI Memorial Buz Standefer Lung Center. “Essentially, every lung nodule is now within reach.”

During bronchoscopy with Ion, the interventional pulmonologist uses the controller to navigate to the target along a planned path. The catheter can articulate 180 degrees in any direction to pass through small, difficult-to-navigate airways and around tight bends to reach all 18 segments of the lung. ION’s peripheral vision probe provides direct vision during navigation. Once the pulmonary nodule is reached, the catheter locks in place. A flexible biopsy needle passes through the catheter, even when positioned in tortuous airways. After advancing around tight-radius bends of the catheter, the needle deploys into the target location on a straight path.

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths. However, when diagnosed at the earliest stage, known as stage IA-1, the average 5-year survival rate is 92%. Early-stage diagnosis can be difficult, but the Ion endoluminal system may help obtain tissue samples that facilitate a diagnosis. It can also help avoid the need for subsequent biopsies by obtaining viable tissue samples during the initial procedure.

“We are excited about the opportunities that minimally invasive options and leading-edge technologies like the Ion bring to people with lung cancer in Chattanooga. We’re focused on finding lung cancer earlier – shifting the stage of diagnosis – when more effective treatment options are available. This system offers more reach, more stability and more precision when compared with manual techniques – allowing us to provide our patients with the best care possible,” says Deb Moore, vice president, oncology services at CHI Memorial.

"CHI Memorial offers the most advanced interventional pulmonary program in the region and provides technologies that are unavailable in most facilities in the United States. We want people to know that when they choose to seek care at CHI Memorial for lung issues, they have access to a higher level of care, more precise staging of lung cancer and advanced, minimally invasive treatment options to help them fight lung cancer and win,” says Dr. Bhadra. “As a team, we are invested in better cancer care solutions and continually increasing access to the highest quality care.”