Natural orifice surgery with an endoluminal mobile robot
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- Rentschler, M.E., Dumpert, J., Platt, S.R. et al. Surg Endosc (2007) 21: 1212. doi:10.1007/s00464-007-9400-z
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Natural orifice transgastric endoscopic surgery promises to eliminate skin incisions and reduce postoperative pain and discomfort. Such an approach provides a distinct benefit as compared with conventional laparoscopy, in which multiple entry incisions are required for tools and camera. Endoscopy currently is the only method for performing procedures through the gastrointestinal tract. However, this approach is limited by instrumentation and the need to pass the entire scope into the patient. In contrast, an untethered miniature robot inserted through the mouth would be able to enter the abdominal cavity through a gastrotomy for exploration of the entire peritoneal cavity. In this study, the authors developed an endoluminal robot capable of transgastric abdominal exploration under esophagogastroduodenoscopic (EGD) control. Under EGD control, a gastrotomy was created, and the miniature robot was deployed into the abdominal cavity under remote control. Ultimately, future procedures will include a family of robots working together inside the gastric and abdominal cavities after their insertion through the esophagus. Such technology will help to reduce patient trauma while providing surgical flexibility.