Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy versus CT-guided transthoracic biopsy for diagnosis of pulmonary nodules

Alejandra Yu Lee-Mateus, Janani Reisenauer, Juan C. Garcia-Saucedo, David Abia-Trujillo, Eee LN H. Buckarma, Eric S. Edell, Rolf A. Grage, Andrew W. Bowman, Gonzalo Labarca, Margaret M. Johnson, Neal M. Patel, Sebastian Fernandez-Bussy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective: Currently, computed tomography-guided transthoracic biopsy (CTTB) is the most accurate diagnostic approach for pulmonary nodules suspected of malignancy. Traditional bronchoscopy has shown suboptimal diagnostic sensitivity, but the emergence of robotic-assisted bronchoscopy (RAB) has the potential to improve diagnostic accuracy, maximize diagnostic yield and complete mediastinal and hilar staging in a single procedure. We aim to assess the efficacy and diagnostic performance of RAB compared to CTTB for diagnosing pulmonary nodules suspected of lung cancer. Methods: A multicenter retrospective review of consecutive patients who underwent RAB and CTTB for evaluating pulmonary nodules from January 2019 to March 2021 at Mayo Clinic Florida and Mayo Clinic Rochester, United States. Clinical and demographic information, nodule characteristics, outcomes and complications were compared between RAB and CTTB. Results: A total of 225 patients were included: 113 in the RAB group and 112 in the CTTB group. Overall diagnostic yield was 87.6% for RAB and 88.4% for CTTB. For malignant disease, RAB had a sensitivity of 82.1% and a specificity of 100%, CTTB had a sensitivity of 88.5% and a specificity of 100%. Complication rate was significantly higher for CTTB compared to RAB (17% vs. 4.4%; p = 0.002). Conclusion: RAB, when available, can be as accurate as CTTB for sampling pulmonary nodules with similar or reduced complications and should be considered as a means for nodule biopsy, particularly when mediastinal staging is also clinically warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • image-guided transthoracic biopsy
  • lung cancer
  • pneumothorax
  • pulmonary nodule
  • robotic bronchoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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