Newswise — December 19, 2019 – Hackensack, NJ – Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center announced today that the medical center is the first hospital in New Jersey to implement Ion, a cutting-edge, robotic-assisted technology that will enhance the care of patients with lung abnormalities, detect lung cancer earlier and improve outcomes. 

“Hackensack University Medical Center is at the forefront of providing leading-edge treatments that enhance patient care,” said Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, President, Northern Region, Chief Research Officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Utilizing an innovative, new robotic-assisted technology like Ion, our team members will redesign the way we care for patients with lung abnormalities by doing real-time lung biopsies, diagnosing lung cancer earlier and providing more precise treatment.” 

Ion’s robotic-assisted platform allows for a minimally invasive biopsy of the lung. The system’s precision and flexibility enable optimal lung navigation and produce more accurate biopsies. Ion will be used for lung cancer screening and early diagnosis by providing more access to small airways or hard-to-reach nodules that other technologies are unable to achieve, as well as for patients who are not surgical candidates but need biopsies to treat cancers. 

“Hackensack University Medical Center is committed to delivering the highest quality care and the best possible patient experience,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Ion, a state-of-the-art technology, demonstrates our commitment to high-quality care by providing our world-class clinical team with the capability of delivering more targeted treatment to our patients thereby improving patient outcomes with the ability to diagnose earlier and with more accuracy.” 

Using Ion, team members can plan their procedures using a CT scan of the patients’ lungs to create a pre-planned path to the pulmonary nodule. The fiber optic technology provides unprecedented stability, accuracy and precision, providing real-time vision of the airway throughout the navigation process and real-time shape information throughout the entire biopsy. In addition, Ion’s Biopsy Marker enables team members to biopsy the targeted area, track the number of biopsies and visualize alternative biopsy pathways. 

“At Hackensack University Medical Center, we are always looking for novel approaches to patient care,” said Nabil Rizk, MD, MS, MPH, Chief, Thoracic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Ion’s revolutionary robotic platform will help our team members evaluate patients more quickly by mapping out a path to the pulmonary nodule, navigating a precise target, performing biopsies and receiving real-time information.” 

The Ion system will integrate seamlessly into Hackensack University Medical Center’s existing technology. The technology will help team members treat patients in a more targeted, precise manner. It will also reduce the amount of procedures over the long-term, improving overall patient outcomes. 

To learn more about Ion, visit:


For more information, contact Mary McGeever, Hackensack University Medical Center Communications and Public Relations Department, at 551-996-1730 (office), 551-795-1675 (cell) or [email protected]


About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care, which is comprised of 35,000 team members and more than 7,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center is ranked #2 in New Jersey and #59 in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Hospital rankings and is ranked high-performing in the U.S. in  colon cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, COPD, heart failure, heart bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, knee replacement and hip replacement. Out of 4,500 hospitals evaluated, Hackensack is one of only 57 that received a top rating in all nine procedures and conditions. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 26 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: John Theurer Cancer Center, a consortium member of the NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit