| cancer

A Revolutionized, Less Painful Colonoscopy

Magnets and Robots for a Better Procedure

In the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, a new article states, “Colonoscopy is limited by the outdated design of conventional endoscopes, which are associated with high complexity of use, cost and pain.” There are 19,000,000 procedures done each year in the United States and European Union, with an expected 16% increase over the next decade. How can colonoscopies be made better for patients, and practitioners? The authors of the study note the importance of early colonoscopies: preventive screening can increase early-stage detection rates for colorectal cancer, “where a patient’s five-year survival rate is over 90%. Survivability drops drastically to less than 10% when diagnosed at a late stage.” Improvement is needed in the aging design of the flexible endoscope. Time to call in the robots!

In the new procedure discussed, “…we use machine vision to develop intelligent and autonomous control of a magnetic endoscope, enabling non-expert users to effectively perform magnetic colonoscopy in vivo. We combine the use of robotics, computer vision and advanced control to offer an intuitive and effective endoscopic system. Moreover, we define the characteristics required to achieve autonomy in robotic endoscopy.” The overall hope is for lower costs, pain, and drawbacks such as current device complexity and risks of tissue perforation.

 

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