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Rensselaer researchers secure $2.7 million NIH grant to advance 'scarless' surgery
Date:6/19/2011

Troy, N.Y. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have secured a $2.7 million grant to develop the first-ever virtual reality simulator for next-generation "scarless" endoscopic surgery.

The four-year study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), seeks to accelerate the development of natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery, or NOTES. This emerging surgical technique shows promise for operating in the human abdomen with no external incisions, no external scarring, less pain, and potentially a lower risk of post-operative infection and immobility.

In NOTES, a flexible endoscope is inserted through a natural orifice, such as the mouth, anus, or vagina. A small internal incision in the stomach, vagina, bladder, or colon then allows the endoscope access to the abdominal cavity. Potential NOTES procedures, for example, are removal of the pancreas or appendix through a patient's mouth.

While "scarless" procedures are promising, the development of tools, techniques, and platforms are currently based on extensive animal testing. Rensselaer Professor Suvranu De, who is leading this new study, said NOTES will benefit greatly from computer-based modeling and simulation which in recent decades has redefined the way most engineering systems, from aircrafts to microprocessors, are designed. To accomplish this, De's team will develop a touch-sensitive virtual reality simulator for NOTES. The system will build from De's NIH-funded work on creating simulation technology for laparoscopic surgery.

"NOTES is a revolutionary surgical paradigm that is viewed as a natural convergence of diagnostic endoscopy and minimally invasive surgical procedures," said De, director of the Center for Modeling, Simulation and Imaging in Medicine (CeMSIM) at Rensselaer. "However, the current enthusiasm regarding NOTES should not overtake a cautioned approach to its implementation. Our new simulator will help evolve NOTES procedu
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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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