Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery: A Critical Review
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Natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) involves the intentional puncture of one of the viscera (e.g., stomach, rectum, vagina, urinary bladder) with an endoscope to access the abdominal cavity and perform an intraabdominal operation. Early laboratory work focused on feasibility studies, including such accomplishments as pure transgastric splenectomy and gastrojejunostomy. Contemporary laboratory work is investigating the infectious and immunologic implications of NOTES and honing the tools and techniques required for complex abdominal operations. Today NOTES has entered the clinical arena in a few cases: the first clinical series of transgastric peritoneoscopy has recently been published; multiple groups are accumulating patients in studies of NOTES cholecystectomy, either via the transgastric or transvaginal route; and a series of transgastric appendectomies has been well publicized, yet it remains unpublished. Although clinical NOTES is gaining momentum, the field should remain in check while rigorous laboratory work is performed and cogent clinical trials are undertaken. The zeal for NOTES should not take precedence over the welfare of the patient.