Maury Regional pulmonologist performs 500th procedure with ILLUMISITE™ Platform


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Jon L. Freels, MD, FCCP, a specialist in pulmonology at Maury Regional Medical Group Pulmonary & Critical Care, recently hit a significant milestone with an innovative piece of technology that’s helping to find lung cancer in its earliest stages.

Dr. Freels has developed a highly successful program utilizing the ILLUMISITETM Platform by Medtronic that has proven to be highly efficient and accurate in sampling suspicious lung nodules. He recently performed his 500th procedure with the platform at Maury Regional Medical Center.

“This innovative technology helps provide our patients with the highest quality patient care,” Dr. Freels said. “Early diagnosis increases our chances of successfully treating lung cancer exponentially, and the ILLUMISITETM Platform allows us to identify the smallest nodules in their earliest stages.”

The ILLUMISITETM Platform acts much like a GPS to guide physicians through a patient’s lungs. A physician uses a patient’s computed tomography (CT) scan to create a virtual pathway to a suspicious nodule and navigates the pathway with a bronchoscope and navigation catheter, a minimally invasive procedure called electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy, commonly referred to as ENB.

Once the physician reaches the suspicious nodule, specialized biopsy tools obtain tissue from the nodule. The tissue is analyzed to determine the diagnosis and stage of cancer.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States and the leading cause of death from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The reason it’s so deadly is oftentimes symptoms don’t show until the cancer has progressed, making early lung screenings vital in treatment.

Maury Regional Health offers low-dose CT lung screenings at Maury Regional Medical Center, Marshall Medical Center, Wayne Medical Center and Spring Hill Imaging Center. To qualify for a low-dose CT lung screening, patients must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 50-77 years of age
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years (one pack-year equals smoking one pack per day for one year; one pack equals 20 cigarettes)
  • Be a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years

For those who don’t meet the criteria, a self-pay CT screening of the chest and lung area is available without a physician’s order at Maury Regional Health’s outpatient imaging locations.

Other common cancer screenings include those for breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate, skin and testicular cancer. For those who have been diagnosed with cancer, the Maury Regional Cancer Center offers comprehensive treatment from a multidisciplinary team of physicians and clinical staff who are committed to providing state-of-the-art care.

To learn more about cancer screenings at MRH, visit

MRMG Pulmonology staff.

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