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Monument Health offers minimally invasive lung cancer biopsy with new Ion robot

RAPID CITY, SD (Nov. 9, 2022) – Robotic-assisted technology is now in use at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital. The Intuitive Ion platform allows pulmonologists to perform minimally invasive biopsies and other challenging tasks, like obtaining tissue samples from otherwise hard to reach areas using a thin, maneuverable catheter.

“It really allows us to take biopsies anywhere in the lung,” said Rorak Hooten, M.D., Pulmonology and Critical Care Physician, “as opposed to before where we were kind of limited.” 

Ion provides a planned path based on a patient’s CT scan allowing physicians to target specific areas of a patient’s lungs. It also allows tracking for multiple biopsy attempts. It is designed to work alongside Monument Health’s existing technology and allows for higher precision during biopsies with reduced risk to the patient.

Typically, physicians use CT scans to conduct initial lung screenings then perform biopsies for a more in-depth look and to confirm the presence of cancer. Screenings and biopsies are key to the early detection and diagnosis of cancer and significantly improve treatment outcomes for patients. 

Dr. Hooten said the Ion provides a safe and efficient way to confirm a cancer diagnosis in patients, compared to traditional biopsies. “If they have cancer, we can do all of the staging in one procedure instead of multiple,” Dr. Hooten said, and stressed the importance of minimizing time between diagnosis and treatment. “Cancer doesn’t grow or change overnight, but if you have to wait, the weeks can add up quickly and a patient’s situation may change drastically.” 

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer behind breast cancer and skin cancer and is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other form of cancer. Most lung cancer is found in adults 65 years-of-age or older, and risk factors include a history of smoking or vaping, exposure to asbestos, radon gas and other pollutants and family history among others. 



David Scott

Monument Health


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