Design of a Robotized Flexible Endoscope for Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery
Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) is a new surgical technique, which consists in reaching the peritoneal cavity through a natural orifice (mouth, anus, or vagina) in order to treat a specific area (Fig. 1). It allows to perform various procedures such as cholecystectomy or tubal ligation. The main advantage of this kind of surgery is the absence of visible scars since it does not need any external incision. Thanks to this procedure, postoperative pain, recovery time, and psychological impact are reduced. The first transluminal procedure has been performed by Pr. Marescaux in Strasbourg in 2007 .
The equipments currently used for NOTES are flexible endoscopes from gas-troenterology. These endoscopes are composed of a long flexible shaft, more than 1 m long, with an articulated bending tip. The bending tip is about 10 cm and can move along two perpendicular directions. The tip is linked to navigation wheels thanks to cables running along the shaft of the endoscope. The surgeons control the motion of the tip by turning the navigation wheels. Visual feedback is provided by a miniature camera embedded at the tip.
Authors wish to thank Karl Storz Endoskope GmbH for their support and the IRCAD for the facilities and medical advices.
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