St. David's HealthCare - April 26, 2022

The endoscopy team at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and William Bartek, M.D., medical director of pulmonology, recently completed the hospital’s 100th lung screening using a new robotic system with advanced imaging technology. St. David’s South Austin Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Central Texas to combine the use of CT imaging and robotics to precisely detect early stage lung cancer.

Kelly Coles, a 67-year-old woman, was one of Dr. Bartek’s first patients to experience the benefits of this technology. She was taken to the ER on her 66th birthday for a heart attack. The visit would save Kelly’s life from something completely unrelated – lung cancer. Chest x-rays revealed a spot on her lung that was too small for a standard biopsy, but the new Ion robotic system was able to reach it and allow for treatment of her early stage lung cancer.

“Because the lung is often a difficult place to get biopsies, this new, robotic-assisted approach represents an advancement in the existing approaches to lung biopsies,” Dr. Bartek said. “This system, along with advanced imaging technology, provides us with better access and increased precision, which can produce quicker results and may help avoid additional biopsies.”

Kelly told the Austin American-Statesman last year that she was “very lucky” the cancer was caught so early. She has since quit smoking and will have to receive regular scans to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center also offers a number of other robotic procedures and is home to some of the most state-of-the-art medical technology available, in partnership with the Texas Institute for Robotic Surgery. Robotic services include orthopedics, open heart and lung surgery, complex GI surgery, surgical oncology, general surgery, colorectal surgery, and urology.

Read more about Kelly’s story

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