Jersey Shore University Medical Center providing patients advanced lung disease diagnostic technology

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Experts at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune are now providing patients with minimally invasive, robotic-assisted bronchoscopy procedures with the Ion endoluminal system.

Bronchoscopy is an endoscopic technique utilizing a tiny tube-like device to visualize airways and the lungs, which also enables biopsies.

“Ion is a wonderful, state-of-the-art tool that enables physicians to see and reach all areas of the lungs with great precision to obtain the best nodule samples for testing,” Dr. Thomas Bauer, chair of surgery and chief of thoracic surgery, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said. “Patients benefit from the even more thorough review of airways and precise tissue sampling, provided during a relatively convenient procedure done without a hospital stay.”

Nodules, abnormal tissue growths, in the lungs can be benign or indicate lung cancer. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for new cases of lung cancer in the U.S. for 2024 is approximately 234,580 (116,310 in men & 118,270 in women).

Ion is designed to address a challenging aspect of lung biopsy by enabling physicians to obtain tissue samples from deep within the lung. The Ion system features an ultrathin, ultramaneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung, and unprecedented stability enables the precision needed for biopsy compared to manual techniques.

During bronchoscopy with Ion, the physician uses the controller to navigate to the target along a planned path. The catheter can articulate 180° in any direction to pass through small, difficult-to-navigate airways and around tight bends to reach all 18 segments of the lung.

“The community we serve should rest assured that exemplary and innovative cancer diagnostic tests and treatments are available close to home,” Vito Buccellato, president and chief hospital executive, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, said.

In 2022, Jersey Shore University Medical Center earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval – Lung Cancer Accreditation and Esophageal Cancer Accreditation. The academic medical center was the first in the state to achieve Lung Cancer Accreditation in 2018, and the first and only hospital in the nation to achieve Esophageal Cancer Accreditation at the time.

The Ion system is designed to fit easily into a bronchoscopy suite and integrate with existing technologies, such as Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical systems.

“We are thrilled to be a leader in this field and look forward to continuing to bring the most advanced, minimally invasive robotic-assisted options to our Monmouth and Ocean county community,” Dr. Kenneth Sable, regional president, Southern Market, Hackensack Meridian Health, said.

Ion is built on more than two decades of leadership in robotic-assisted technology by Intuitive, the maker of the da Vinci surgical system. The Ion endoluminal system allows for more precision, more reach, more stability and more answers.

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University and JFK University medical centers previously launched the Ion system within the network.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is committed to exploring the most advanced treatments and integrating them into the care of our patients,” Mark Sparta, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center, and president, North Region, Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “The Ion system is an innovative tool that our surgeons have embraced to enhance lung cancer diagnosis and yield information that enables them to match their patients with the most effective therapies as soon as possible.”


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