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KRMC Introduces Robotic-Assisted Lung Biopsy to Mohave County

a pulmonologist shown from behind looks at lung imaging on a screen
January 4, 2024

Kingman Regional Medical Center now offers the latest in minimally invasive technology for lung biopsy: the Ion endoluminal system by Intuitive. The Ion system is a robotic-assisted platform made to improve accuracy and efficiency in lung biopsy procedures.

“Early diagnosis of lung cancer is key to successful and effective therapy,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahgoub, pulmonologist at Kingman Regional Medical Center. “Unfortunately, we see a higher-than-average incidence of lung cancer in our area, so having this technology available right here in Kingman really benefits our patients.” 

Mahgoub and other physicians at KRMC have completed thorough training with the Ion system to learn its capabilities. One such feature is Ion’s ability to turn patient CT scans into 3D visualizations of the lung. Using these images as maps, the doctor will know precisely how to navigate through the curves of the patient’s airways to the target area.

With the Ion system’s ultrathin catheter and 3D navigation, doctors can maneuver to deep, hard-to-reach areas of the lung to obtain tissue samples. This precision enables doctors to sample an abnormal growth—or lung nodule— at smaller, earlier stages of development for prompt diagnosis and treatment. An estimated 70 percent of lung nodules are in the outer third of the lung, an area full of tight spaces and narrow airways. Because of its size (3.5 millimeters in diameter) and flexibility, the catheter can access those places in the lung. 

Using the minimally invasive Ion system, a physician inserts the 180-degree articulating catheter through the patient’s mouth or nose. The fiber-optic based technology identifies the catheter’s precise location hundreds of times per second, resulting in real-time location guidance. 

This approach reduces the risk of complications as compared to a conventional lung needle biopsy, which involves risk for collapsed lung or bleeding.

Historically, it has been difficult to safely biopsy small lung nodules—meaning patients had to wait for the nodule to grow to get answers.

“This can cause anxiety,” said Dr. Mahgoub. “The Ion system allows us to biopsy nodules when they are small, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment.”

Many people develop lung nodules—and most are not cancerous—but early detection and treatment are vital for cases that are cancerous. KRMC’s Lung Nodule Clinic provides patients with access to the latest diagnostic tools, advanced therapies, and patient-centered support services. For more information, visit

Image ©2023 Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc.


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