SAYRE, Pa. (WETM) – Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital is the first health care system in the Twin Tiers to feature a new technology used to treat lung cancer patients.

The technology is a Robotic Bronchoscope, the only device of its kind in the world. It is designed to detect lung cancer faster and with more accuracy compared to traditional bronchoscopes.

“Significant evolutions in the past decade have transformed surgery as we know it,” said Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, Guthrie President and CEO. “This latest investment will have a positive impact on patients throughout the communities we serve.”

More than 20 patients have already been assessed using the Robotic Bronchoscope, with 85% of those patients receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan. Earlier diagnoses are now more likely thanks to how fast the technology is, and this can often lead to better prognoses.

Surgeons control the technology with a device shaped like a typical video game controller. Despite looking easy to use, the Robotic Bronchoscope requires years of experience to make a flawless procedure.

“Basically what the Robotic Bronchoscope does is let me drive further out into the lung with better control than I can with both traditional bronchoscopes and with bronchoscopes controlled merely by my hand,” said Boyd Hehn, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care for Guthrie Health. “It allows me to perform high fidelity biopsies of very small lung nodules.”

To put in perspective how fast the Robotic Bronchoscope is, the patient can have the lung nodules and their lymph nodes checked at the same time. These are two procedures that typically had to be performed separately in the past.

The Guthrie Clinic is a non-profit multispecialty health system that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It is dedicated to offering new technologies and training the next generation of health care leaders.