Endoluminal surgery: past, present and future
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Flexible endoscopy has evolved from a diagnostic tool practiced predominantly by gastroenterologists to a minimally invasive surgical tool. Therapeutic endoluminal procedures have become the standard of care for many gastric, biliary, pancreatic and colonic maladies. New technologies are under investigation for endoscopic treatment of gastroesophageal reflux, morbid obesity, and ablation of premalignant tissue. In the future flexible endoscopes may play a role in “natural orifice” surgery, performing operations through the mouth or rectum without the need for external incisions.
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