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    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Performs First Robotic Bronchoscopy Within the Defense Health Agency

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Performs First Robotic Bronchoscopy Within the Defense Health Agency

    Photo By James Black | Walter Reed’s Interventional Pulmonology team gears up for first Robotic...... read more read more



    Story by James Black 

    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center


    Media Contact:
    James A. Black

    BETHESDA, Md. (August 21, 2023) -- Walter Reed performed the first robotic bronchoscopy procedure in the Defense Health Agency. Using the robotic bronchoscope to augment our current cutting edge cone beam CT Bronchoscopy program, Walter Reed now offers state of the art services in precision lung biopsy and early lung cancer diagnosis previously unavailable within the DHA.

    This synergistic combination of medical technologies offers DHA beneficiaries a capability available at only a few highly specialized centers around the world. In this first procedure, retired U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Robert F. Browning, the medical director for Interventional Pulmonology at Walter Reed, and his long-time interventional pulmonologist partner U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Sean McKay – in addition to a highly talented team - adeptly combined these advanced technologies to reach and biopsy a very small peripheral nodule during a nuanced two-hour procedure – which fortunately detected cancer in the first patient to undergo the DHA procedure.

    “This is so exciting that we have this new capability to provide to our patients in the Department of Defense,” emphasized Browning. “They deserve the best and now we can give it to them.”

    According to the American Lung Association, over 1.5 million new pulmonary nodules are estimated to be detected every year in the United States. Although more than 90 percent will be ultimately benign, the malignant minority is predicted to cause 130,830 deaths in 2022 alone, making lung cancer the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

    “With the growing use of annual low dose CT lung cancer screening and our nation’s awareness of the risk that military exposures may be related to cancers (specified in the PACT Act), we are seeing more of these small lung nodules that may or may not be a cancer,” stated Browning. “That’s why a minimally invasive biopsy can prevent unnecessary lung surgeries and diagnose actual lung cancers very early - when they are still curable,” explained McKay, whose mother encouraged him to pursue a medical career before ultimately succumbing to cancer.

    The addition of the robotic bronchoscope represents a patient-centered evolution, complementing the collaborative efforts of the Murtha Cancer Center and the Uniformed Services University in the fight against lung cancer.


    Walter Reed, the world’s premier, integrated military medical center and where the nation heals our heroes, strives to provide extraordinary experiences for patients, families, and staff while driving tomorrow’s healthcare advances through education, innovation, and research. For additional information about Walter Reed, please visit us at

    About Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

    The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is one of the nation's largest and most renowned military medical centers. Recently dubbed "The Nation's Medical Center," we represent the joining of the "Best of the Best" in military medicine when National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center came together in September of 2011, to form Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as decreed by the Base Realignment and Closure law of 2005.

    We are comprised of nearly 7,100 dedicated staff members who make it their daily mission to achieve the vision and mission of our medical center. Our vision is to serve military families and our nation's active duty, returning war heroes, veterans, and our Nation's leaders. We’re committed to operational readiness, outstanding customer service, and world-class health care delivery for our beneficiaries.


    Date Taken: 08.21.2023
    Date Posted: 08.21.2023 11:39
    Story ID: 451788

    Web Views: 672
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