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Scoping It Out: What's on the Horizon for Endoscopy and Arthroscopy

by Kristen Fischer , DOTmed News
From the August 2011 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

Advancements in both endoscopy and arthroscopy continue to help physicians better see inside the human body and diagnose illnesses. From new ways of performing surgery and equipment breakthroughs, here are the latest developments in the field.

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The latest on ingestible capsule endoscopes
Last year, Olympus and Siemens announced a partnership to create a magnetically guided endoscope capsule. The patient swallows the capsule and then a joystick paired with a magnetic field maneuvers the capsule. Once in place, cameras at both ends of the capsule transmit to a viewer. A feasibility study by the Institut Arnault Tzanck in Saint Laurent du Var in France suggests the procedure could be useful for gastric examinations and the results were published last year in Endoscopy. The technology is expected to be released shortly.

Volunteers participating in the study found the procedure to be fairly easy to undergo as well with 93 percent saying the examination was comfortable and 89 percent finding it easy to swallow the pill. All the patients preferred the magnetically guided capsule to the conventional gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Meanwhile, Olympus continues to improve its capsule endoscope technology and is marketing the EC Type 1 charged-couple device. It has automatic brightness control and a structure enhancement function that allows the physician to see lesions and blood in real-time on a hand-held display while capturing images for later review and report creation. Proprietary software allows the doctor to move through 40 frames per second, automatically detects red marks and lets the physician compare four images at a time side-by-side.

Going below the tissue with optical coherence tomography
Another breakthrough expected to have a profound impact on the endoscopy field is the Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging System (OCTIS) by Tomophase Corporation. This OCT scope, which received FDA approval in December, can take images from below tissue surfaces in pulmonary airways.

Because most lung cancers begin about 2-millimeters below the surface in the epithelium, they can’t be seen by traditional surface photos. The OCT scope shoots a laser beam into tissue, and light reflected back produces a 3-D picture, so cancerous tissue can be easily identified. An OCTIS manufactured by Tomophase was recently installed for research use at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.
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