Endoscope inserted through natural body openings avoids incisions, shortens recoveries
SUNDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new surgical technology may lead to painless and scar-free surgery with recovery times even shorter than those offered by laparoscopic surgery, U.S. studies suggest.
Called natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), an endoscope is inserted through a natural body opening, rather than through an internal incision in the stomach, vagina, bladder or colon. This avoids any external incisions or scars.
The studies were expected to be presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting, in San Diego.
"The research developments presented [at the meeting] are continuing to demonstrate the great potential of this exciting new surgical procedure," Dr. Pankaj J. Pasricha, professor of medicine, gastroenterology and hepatology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
"Surgical advances like NOTES may lead the way toward the adoption of even more minimally invasive techniques than laparoscopy and allow patients to return to their home, family and work more quickly," Pasricha said.
In one study, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that NOTES was more time-consuming than laparoscopic surgery but was equally successful. They also demonstrated that complex surgery could be performed through the mouth using a flexible endoscope.
"NOTES is an area of promise in active development. The opportunities with NOTES are significant and should some day provide patients with a viable scarless and painless option for certain medical procedures," study author Dr. Field Willingham, senior fellow in the gastrointestinal unit at MGH, said in a prepared statement.
He did mention that tools used to dissect or retract during NOTES procedures may pose some limitations.
"It can be challenging to perform complex p
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