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Lee Health’s New Robotic Platform Unveiled: Detects Lung Cancer Quicker than Traditional Methods

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Lee Health continues to bolster its robotics program.

(Feb. 24, 2023) --- The health system has added the Intuitive ION robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform to its program. The robotic platform enables physicians to perform minimally-invasive lung biopsies on patients to help detect cancer sooner.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and early detection is key in improving someone’s chances of survival.

The ION has an ultrathin, ultramaneuverable catheter that allows physicians to reach small lesions of the lung. The ION also offers more range of motion and stability that allows the physician to aim the catheter at small targets, even if they’re located outside the airway.

The lung biopsy through the ION is performed by a physician who plans and navigates their path to the nodule. As the guided catheter approaches the nodule, the physician can confirm the lesion’s location with intra-procedure x-ray. Then, the physician secures the catheter in place to perform the biopsy.

Because of this technology, the ION can help to diagnose cancer in the lungs much sooner than with a typical trans-thoracic needle biopsy.

“We are very excited to add the ION platform to our robotics program, because this system will help us save lives through earlier detection of lung cancer,” said Dr. Jonathan Velez, chief physician and operations executive at Gulf Coast Medical Center. “At Lee Health, we are committed to caring for our community and we will continue to grow our robotics program to meet the needs of our patients in Southwest Florida.”

The addition of the ION compliments Lee Health’s robust robotics program, which is comprised of the ExcelsiusGPS®, a first of its kind robotic surgery in Southwest Florida for minimally-invasive spine and brain procedures; two ROSA orthopedic robots for knee and hip replacements; an Anovo Surgical System for gynecological procedures; and ten da Vinci Xi Surgical Systems, which are designed to help surgeons perform minimally-invasive surgeries, such as colorectal surgeries and unique surgeries in the areas of gynecology, urology, ear nose and throat and general surgery.

To learn more about Lee Health’s robotic surgery program, visit

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