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ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy Program

The Queen’s Cancer Team is pleased to announce our new Program Director of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Taryne Imai, MD, MEHP, FACS. A Honolulu native and pioneer in robotic technology, she brings a specialized practice to Queen’s – robotic approaches for the treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the chest.

Changing the Future of
Lung Cancer Care

The introduction of Queen’s ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy Program, pioneered by Dr. Imai, means that a minimally- invasive procedure capable of diagnosing and resecting lung cancer at earlier stages and smaller sizes is now available to our community, improving lung health for Hawaiʻi residents and those throughout the Pacific.

What makes ION different?

Get diagnosed, staged and treated in one setting.


Reduces timeline from diagnosis to surgical treatment from 8 weeks to <4 hours.


30% lower complication rate than CT-guided biopsy.

More accurate

90–93% diagnostic accuracy with further reach into peripheral lungs.

Shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery

Patients get back on their feet with less pain and return to work and daily life sooner.

What is ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy?

The ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy platform is a fully robotic, minimally invasive, single-anesthetic pathway used during the biopsy of peripheral lung nodules.

This safer and more precise procedure can expedite the timeline from diagnosis to surgical treatment from six to eight weeks to less than four hours with the ability to diagnose, stage and resect lung cancer in one setting. With a small diameter catheter (2.0mm working channel), ION can reach all segments in the lung. The procedure is safer than other biopsy modalities, with a pneumothorax rate of only 2.3%, a bleeding rate of only 1.5%, and 30% fewer complications compared to CT-guided biopsy. Its diagnostic accuracy rate is 90%–93%.

Early Screening + Expeditious Treatment = Greater Survival

There is a problem.
Queen’s has a solution.

Lung cancer is the #1 cause of cancer-related deaths in Hawaiʻi.

Early detection is key to improving survival rates. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, Hawaiʻi ranked last in the U.S. for early detection of lung cancer according to The American Lung Association’s 2022 State of Lung Cancer report.

“This is how we’re going to get Hawaiʻi out of last place for early detection—with the ION program.”  – Dr. Taryne Imai

Why are lung cancer survival rates worsening for
women and Native Hawaiians?

Technology and Programs

Health care technology achieves its potential when it’s embedded in a thriving program. More importantly, health care today is about breaking down silos. Especially when it comes to cancer care, we must collaborate as a team of doctors offering patients a comprehensive plan.

Our nodule clinic is a model of what the future of medicine should look like. By bringing together Queen’s top physicians in oncology, pulmonology, cardiology and more, and combining their skill with leading-edge technology, our patients receive comprehensive care from expert providers working together for better health outcomes.

Refer a Patient

550 South Beretania Street, Suite 510
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Fax: 808-691-4557

Exterior of the POB 3
Dr. Taryne Imai, MD, MEHP, FACS

Program Director of
Thoracic Surgery

About Dr. Imai and the ION Program

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, Dr. Taryne Imai, MD, MEHP, FACS, completed her undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and JABSOM. After completing general surgery residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, she went on to complete fellowships in Thoracic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and Surgical Critical Care at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She has also completed her Masters in Education for Health Professions from Johns Hopkins University.

As the Clinical Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Imai’s practice specialized in robotic approaches for the treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the chest. In 2019, she was awarded the Women in Thoracic Surgery – Intuitive Robotic Fellowship in advanced robotic training. She led the launch of the ION Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which went on to become one of top five ION programs in the country by volume.c

After performing more than 300 cases on the ION platform at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Imai returned home to Hawaiʻi with a mission to change the culture of how we manage lung cancer in Hawaiʻi. Her clinical practice focuses on:

  • Thoracic oncology and robotic surgical approaches, including lung, mediastinal and esophageal cancers
  • Lung nodule patients in need of biopsy and surveillance
  • Lung cancer screening patients in need of biopsy, mediastinal staging and resection
  • Follow-up and surveillance of thoracic oncology patients
  • Benign thoracic surgery, including infections and effusions
  • Interventional scopes, including esophageal stenting and dilations

Dr. Imai serves on the Pacific Regional Board of the American Lung Association and is a member of the Commission on Cancer, a national organization dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for patients with cancer by setting and raising standards and by promoting cancer prevention, research, education and monitoring of comprehensive quality care.

Of her colleagues at The Queen’s Health System, Dr. Imai says, “Queen’s physicians are forward thinking, progressive, dedicated to their patients, and dedicated to providing great care. This environment is inspiring, motivating and helps build excitement for our work toward the mission of delivering high quality care to everyone in Hawaiʻi.”