Doctors at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital are using innovative 3D mapping technology to identify lung tumors at their earliest stages, increasing the ability to successfully treat the disease.


The new navigation system, uses electromagnetic sensors – placed on a patient’s chest throughout a regular CT scan — and proprietary software to navigate the bronchoscope through the lungs, even incorporating the patient’s breathing patterns. The result is an exceptionally detailed pathway to potential lesions.


“Because of the complexity of the bronchial system and movements related to breathing in and out, navigation with a bronchoscope can be a challenge,” said Priya Oolut, M.D., board-certified pulmonologist with Houston Methodist Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialists. “The navigation system gives us a detailed, 3D roadmap that is in sync with the patient’s breathing movements and even calculates the shortest path to a lesion. This makes it easier to identify and reach potential tumors for biopsy or removal, even the smallest nodules at the periphery of the lungs.”


The SPiN Thoracic Navigation System™, by medical manufacturer Veran Medical, also includes sensor-tipped instruments that give doctors precise location information as they move the bronchoscope and associated tools through the lung. Since it can be used for screening, biopsy and tumor location marking can be done in a single procedure, reducing the need for multiple hospital visits and lower patient risks.


“In the past, lung cancer often went undetected until it was significantly advanced and difficult to treat,” said Suneesh Nair, M.D., board-certified pulmonologist at Houston Methodist Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine Specialists. “The new navigation system is a major step forward, enabling us to identify, locate and biopsy tumors at their earliest stage. Studies show that when lung cancer is found early, the 10-year survival rate is higher than 90%, significantly better than at later stages when the cancer has likely spread. At Houston Methodist Sugar Land, the navigation system is a critical tool in our efforts to screen and diagnose high-risk patients earlier than ever before.”


For more information on this 3D mapping technology, call our oncology nurse navigator at 281.672.8585 or to schedule an appointment with Houston Methodist Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine Specialists call 281.325.0005