Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside achieves 1K robot-assisted lung cancer procedures


Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside has announced that its pulmonology care team has now conducted 1,000 robotic-assisted bronchoscopy procedures to help patients survive lung cancer. This advanced approach allows doctors to diagnose lung cancer at earlier stages and access hard-to-reach nodules.

This approach has been offered at St. Vincent’s Riverside since 2020, and it was the first hospital in the area to begin using the advanced bronchoscopy technology, known as the Ion System. St. Vincent’s leads Northeast Florida hospitals in conducting these procedures. 

“When it comes to defeating lung cancer, early detection is essential,” said Dr. Akram Shibani, pulmonologist with St. Vincent's Riverside. “While this milestone is significant, our team is focused on our mission to use this technology to save even more lives and protect the health of our community.”

The robot-assisted bronchoscopy is a minimally invasive technology that improves the accuracy and precision of the biopsy of a potentially cancerous nodule. Lung nodules are common and appear as white shadows on a chest X-ray or lung CT scan. With the robot-assisted bronchoscope, doctors can extract a tissue sample from nodules as small as 1 centimeter. Previously, when a patient required a nodule biopsy on the lung, doctors could not approach it if it was smaller than 2 centimeters.

The Ion Bronchoscopy System is faster and less invasive than the traditional CT-guided lung biopsy. Patients also report fewer side effects.

Robot-assisted bronchoscopy is one of many tools lung specialists use at St. Vincent’s. The pulmonary medicine doctors, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, nurse navigators and rehabilitation therapists at St. Vincent’s Riverside routinely participate in the Lung Cancer Tumor Conference to confer and update each patient’s care plan. They follow nationally established guidelines for lung cancer staging and deliver innovative treatments with advanced care options.