Clin Endosc.  2018 Nov;51(6):552-557. 10.5946/ce.2018.089.

Robotics for Advanced Therapeutic Colonoscopy

  • 1Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Although colonoscopy was originally a diagnostic imaging procedure, it has now expanded to include an increasing range of therapeutic interventions. These procedures require precise maneuvers of instruments, execution of force, efficient transmission of force from the operator to the point of application, and sufficient dexterity in the mobilization of endoscopic surgical instruments. The conventional endoscope is not designed to support technically demanding endoscopic procedures. In case of colonoscopy, the tortuous anatomy of the colon makes inserting, moving, and orientating the endoscope difficult. Exerting excessive pressure can cause looping of the endoscope, pain to the patient, and even perforation of the colon. To mitigate the technical constraints, numerous technically enhanced systems have been developed to enable better control of instruments and precise delivery of force in the execution of surgical tasks such as apposing, grasping, traction, counter-traction, and cutting of tissues. Among the recent developments are highly dexterous robotic master and slave systems, computer-assisted or robotically enhanced conventional endoscopes, and autonomously driven locomotion devices that can effortlessly traverse the colon. Developments in endoscopic instrumentations have overcome technical barriers and opened new horizons for further advancements in therapeutic interventions. This review describes examples of some of these systems in the context of their applications to advanced therapeutic colonoscopy.


Robotics; Flexible endoscopy; Colonoscopy; Therapeutic endoscopy
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