Tulane Health System launched a new procedure to aid in the detection of lung cancer using a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform in conjunction with real-time cone beam CT imaging. Together, these technologies are used to biopsy suspicious lung nodules through a minimally invasive procedure with incredible precision - even in hard-to-reach areas of the lung. The procedures enable physicians to quickly determine if a nodule is cancerous so the patient can begin life-saving treatment. Tulane is the first hospital in Louisiana to combine these technologies.

The robotic-assisted bronchoscopy technology features an ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter that allows navigation into the lung and enables the precision needed for the diagnostic biopsy. The cone beam CT system offers real-time images during the bronchoscopy, so physicians know exactly where the instruments are relative to the targeted lung nodule.

“The lungs are a complex and delicate structure, which historically made it difficult to safely biopsy small nodules, particularly in the peripheral lung,” says Ramsy Abdelghani, MD, a board-certified interventional pulmonologist at Tulane Health System trained to use the robotic system. “Now, with the combined use of robotic-assisted bronchoscopy and real-time CT imaging, we have improved accuracy and speed with which we can diagnose and implement treatment for lung cancer patients.”

The leading-edge procedure compliments Tulane Health System’s Lung Nodule Program. Lung nodules can be found incidentally on CT scans of the heart and abdomen. Tulane’s program uses innovative technology to detect suspicious lung nodules by analyzing CT exams performed as part of non-lung-related patient care plans for the presence of incidental lung nodules, which could represent a malignancy. Nurse navigators then reach out personally to patients to ensure follow-up care and treatment.

Additionally, as part of the multidisciplinary platform focused on early-stage cancer detection, Tulane Health System offers a low-dose CT lung screening program for proactive identification and treatment of at-risk patients.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage for treatment improves survival rates according to the American Cancer Society.

“Offering an advanced approached for lung biopsies is an important part of detecting lung cancer early, allowing better outcomes for patients,” says Tom Patrias, chief executive officer of Tulane Health System. “We hope this, combined with our lung nodule biopsy detection program and our low-dose CT screenings, will positively impact lung cancer survival rates in our community.”

For more information on the Tulane Lung Cancer program, visit TulaneHealthcare.com.