Robotic Assisted Bronchoscopy (RAB)

A robotic bronchoscopy is quicker and more accurate than a traditional bronchoscopy. It uses a long, thin tube called a bronchoscope to inspect a patient's airways. This type of bronchoscopy allows greater access to harder to reach areas of the lungs.

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UC Health is the only health system in the region with board-certified interventional pulmonology specialists who can use the RAB technology for more accurate diagnosis, leading to better outcomes for patients.

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Answers to Your Robotic Assisted Bronchoscopy Questions

Robotic assisted bronchoscopy (RAB) allows for more precise access to difficult to reach lung nodules, previously not accessible by traditional bronchoscopic methods.

Similar to a traditional, flexible bronchoscopy, this procedure uses a long, thin lighted fiber optic tube (called a bronchoscope) inserted through the nose or mouth to see inside the respiratory tract. The bronchoscope helps your doctor see your larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (large airways to the lungs). A bronchoscope can suction secretions, obtain tissue samples (biopsy), deliver medications or perform laser therapy.

Any patient with a suspicious lung nodule that needs tissue diagnosis can benefit from having this procedure.

RAB is as safe as a conventional, navigational bronchoscopic procedure. This procedure is more accurate at determining if lung nodules are cancerous or noncancerous, and much faster, which helps to minimize a patient's time spent under procedure. Since it is robotically controlled, the procedure is minimally invasive by comparison, which can lead to fewer complications. The comparison for accuracy of this robotic platform against the traditional bronchoscopy is 80-85% instead of 70%.

This type of procedure, alongside our interventional pulmonology specialists, allows earlier interventions and better diagnostic yield of cancerous lung nodules, especially hard to reach nodules in the lungs, and small peripheral nodules.


The risks of robotic assisted bronchoscopy are the same as with flexible bronchoscopy. Complications related to bronchoscopy may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding.

  • Infection.

  • Bronchial perforation (tearing).

  • Bronchospasm and/or laryngospasm (irritation of the airways and/or vocal cords).

  • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax - air becomes trapped in the pleural space causing the lung to collapse).

Complications happen between 1 - 3 % of the total cases. The more major risk of the procedure is not having a diagnosis afterwards.

There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition.

After having a detailed discussion in the clinic about the benefits and risks of the procedure, should you agree to undergo a robotic assisted bronchoscopy procedure, you will be scheduled in our Endoscopy Unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

On the day of the procedure you will discuss both with the proceduralist and the anesthesia team about the procedure’s benefits and risks of the procedure as well as the benefits and risks of general anesthesia.

Our experienced anesthesiology team will keep you comfortable during the procedure while our proceduralists complete it with the assistance of our nurse endoscopist team. 

We will usually have an experienced cytotechnician that can prepare microscope slides and help us determine if we are close to the lung lesion (taking appropriate biopsies).

Immediately after the procedure, you will be transported to the recovery area where an experienced registered nurse will assist you while you recover from your procedure. 

Your physician will discuss details about the procedure itself, what to expect after the procedure and the timeframe to follow once  the results are uploaded into your medical chart. If you can be discharged, a detailed handout will be provided to you with contact information.

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By combining the subspecialized lung cancer expertise of our clinicians with the power of scientific discovery, we offer the most advanced care options available in the Cincinnati region.

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Leading-Edge Technology

We offer superior technology and medical expertise to develop a personalized and more accurate diagnostic and treatment plan.

Advanced Training

We have the region’s only fellowship trained interventional pulmonologist who have expertise in advanced bronchoscopy procedures such as navigational bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound.

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