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West Palm Beach doctor revolutionizes fight against lung cancer with new robot

Dr. Adam Wellikoff calls Monarch Bronchoscope Robot 'a huge leap'
Posted at 6:29 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 05:57:04-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Medical technology is constantly evolving in almost every field.

A West Palm Beach pulmonologist, Dr. Adam Wellikoff, said when it comes to the Monarch Bronchoscope Robot, the field just took a major leap in cancer detection.

"This is a huge leap," he said. "So many years ago, when we first started doing bronchoscopies, they'd diagnose these very small lesions in the far-out reaches of the lung, our accuracy no better than flipping a coin."

He said the robot is more precise than traditional bronchoscopies, allowing it to get to harder to reach locations in the lungs.

"We're able to navigate out to the lesion. We can see where we're going," Wellikoff explained. "We can steer in the direction which we need to go and that accuracy has gone up to 90%. So the accuracy leap from 90% to the flip of a coin is huge."

JFK Medical Center is the first hospital in Palm Beach County and one of the first in the country to have access to the robot. Lung cancer is usually detected in stage 3 or 4, but Wellikoff said having access to the robot means a better outcome for patients.

"We're able to diagnose people earlier in stage 1 or stage 2, where the outcomes are vastly different," Wellikoff said.

His first procedure with the device is this week.