linked in pixel

Ochsner Medical Center First in the State to Offer Robotic-Assisted Option for Lung Biopsy

Ochsner Medical Center First in the State to Offer Robotic-Assisted Option for Lung Biopsy

Ochsner Medical Center (Ochsner) is now offering patients a new, minimally invasive option for lung biopsy using the Ion endoluminal system—a robotic-assisted tool for bronchoscopic biopsy of the lung. On September 28, 2021, Ochsner pulmonologist Susan Gunn, MD performed Louisiana’s first robotic-assisted bronchoscopy using the Ion system. Ochsner is the only hospital in the state offering this technology.

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 ultra-thin, ultra-maneuverable catheter that navigates far into the peripheral lung, and compared to manual techniques, physicians have unprecedented stability and optimal precision necessary for biopsy.

“This tool allows physicians to reach areas of the lung that were not accessible before,” said Dr. Gunn. “The ability to offer patients this minimally invasive option is a game-changer for lung cancer care, as we can share a diagnosis and treatment plan earlier, resulting in better outcomes.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. More people die of lung cancer than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined. In 2021, an estimated 235,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed. For those most at risk, annual lung cancer screenings improve a patient’s lung cancer survival rate. If a nodule is found when it is small and has not yet spread, it is more likely to be successfully treated. With the new Ion technology, patients who choose Ochsner for their care can benefit from this minimally invasive approach of diagnosis and staging lung cancer while reducing complications.

“Robotic bronchoscopy using the Ion system is a significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer, as it reduces the complication rate from the traditional diagnostic method from 20-25 percent to only 1-3 percent,” said Brian Pettiford, MD, MBA, FACS, thoracic surgeon, Ochsner Medical Center. “The Ochsner Cancer Institute, in collaboration with our surgical and pulmonology teams, work together to offer state-of-the-art lung cancer care to patients right here at home in Louisiana and across the Gulf South, proving each day that local patients do not have to travel for high quality cancer care.”

Offering patients access to the latest innovative medical advancements, like the Ion system to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest stages, allows Ochsner and Louisiana to take one step closer to our 10-year goal of a healthy state by 2030.

Cancer Care at Ochsner

The Ochsner Cancer Institute has cared for patients from all 50 states and 28 countries at its comprehensive cancer centers located throughout the New Orleans region, St. Tammany Parish, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and North Louisiana. Annually, Ochsner serves more than 34,000 adult and pediatric cancer patients.

Ochsner is committed to providing exceptional cancer care where its patients live, in large and small communities alike in its cancer treatment facilities throughout the state including: The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans; the newly opened St. Tammany Cancer Center, a Campus of Ochsner Medical Center in Covington, one of the largest multidisciplinary Neuroendocrine Tumor Programs in the U.S. at Ochsner Medical Center- Kenner and the Ochsner Cancer Center in Baton Rouge.

Ochsner’s cancer centers include advanced technology and treatment options such as precision therapies, early tumor detection programs, minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical options including robotic bronchoscopy, and the largest clinical trials network in Louisiana, so that patients do not have to leave the state for high-quality cancer care. Supportive services are offered through Ochsner’s state-of-the-art integrative oncology program, which underscore an important focus of the institute’s multidisciplinary team approach: the social, physical, and emotional impacts of cancer treatment. At the Ochsner Cancer Institute, disease-specific teams of nurses, physicians, researchers, allied health professionals, and therapists collaborate to deliver outstanding outcomes and help patients and their families navigate this complex disease and its treatment.

To learn more about Ochsner’s award-winning cancer care, please visit


About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 900,000 people from across the globe in 2020, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 32,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit To transform your health, please visit