Ion Endoluminal System (Robotic Platform/Minimally Invasive Care) by Intuitive Global Design Team
2018 - 2019, Platinum A' Scientific Instruments, Medical Devices and Research Equipment Design Award Winner
At Intuitive, we believe that minimally invasive care is life-enhancing care. By combining ingenuity and intelligent technology, we expand the potential of physicians to heal without constraints.
The Ion endoluminal system is a new robotic platform for minimally invasive biopsy deep in the peripheral lung. The system features an ultra-thin, human-controlled robotic catheter that allows physicians to navigate into hard-to-reach airways with unprecedented stability and precision. Ion offers capabilities that are unique and powerful: Reach. We invented a flexible robotic catheter that is small enough to reach the airways in all 18 segments of the lung, and precise and stable enough to navigate the tortuous path to get there. Our incredibly thin and flexible vision probe provides direct visualization the entire way. Precision. In many cases, the physician must be able to see beyond the walls of the lung to target the lesion. To solve this, we integrated an innovative fiber-optic shape sensor that provides precise location and shape information throughout the whole navigation and biopsy process. Unlike other tracking technologies, our fiber optic shape sensor is not sensitive to metal objects. The information provided by our shape sensor is coupled with 3D planning software that helps physicians map a detailed virtual plan of their patient’s lung. Targeting and biopsy are performed via these enhanced digital tools. Stability. Finally, we developed the Flexision needle—a flexible biopsy needle that slides through the twists, turns, and bends of the catheter smoothly without affecting aim. All of these technologies work together and strive to overcome the challenges of seeking a tissue diagnosis in the peripheral lung.
Design Challenges
Around the world, lung cancer is on the rise. Today, when a physician finds a small lesion on a patient’s lung, they have few options to perform a biopsy for tissue diagnosis. We recognized that innovation was needed to provide a minimally invasive solution with higher yield than previous approaches. The challenges are great: Early stage cancers are small in size and can be located anywhere in the lung, but are most often located in the outer 1/3—far out of reach of traditional bronchoscopy tools. In many cases, these existing methods require tools that are either too large or too limited to position accurately in the peripheral lung where airways can branch out to sizes less than 2mm in diameter. Also many lesions form outside the airway walls, where they cannot be seen by direct line of sight. Even if a physician can get close, they often must rely on limited external imaging and sensor technology to estimate where the lesion is in relation to the catheter. We created the Ion system as a platform to help provide physicians more reach , and to see what they previously couldn’t see. We look forward to the future and what physicians can do for their patients with this technology.
Production Technology
Human Controlled Robotic Catheter, Fiber-Optic Shape Sensing Technology, Flexision(TM) flexible biopsy needle.
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