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

by Kristen Fischer, DOTmed News | August 08, 2011
From the August 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Ralph Johnston, president at Tomophase, says a recent National Lung Screening Trial is adding a lot of impetus for the use of the OCTIS. The study showed that patients lowered their risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent when they were given low-dose CT scans that identified tumors at an earlier stage.

“Since OCTIS employs light rather than radiation, it will eliminate radiation-induced cancer and be key for follow-up care,” Johnston adds.

High-definition imaging, coupled with chromoendoscopy [what is this/], has vastly improved endoscopy, says Dr. Michael L. Kochman, a governing board councilor, for the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. It makes diagnoses more accurate by better targeting areas for biopsies and offering improved identification of abnormalities. “Those two things [imaging and chromoendoscopy] are separate, but when put together, they allow for high-resolution views of the surface of the GI tract,” he notes.

Seeing cells with pCLE innovations
Kochman says that the probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy, or pCLE, system provides images of surface colonic epithelium in during endoscopy, which can improve accuracy by letting doctors see the cellular architecture. Unlike the OCTIS, it does not penetrate the surface.

Mauna Kea Technologies has produced Cellvizio, which is the only pCLE solution on the market today. The verdict is still out as to whether this technology is clinically more effective compared to existing techniques, Kochman says.

Using of body orifices for diagnosis, treatment of conditions
Peroral myotomy (POEM) provides a less-invasive permanent treatment for esophageal achalasia, a disorder that causes difficulty swallowing. To repair this condition, a traditional open surgery was formerly used. So far, most of the technology is being devised in Japan, but some of these procedures offer a low-morbidity advantage over existing ones.

“What we’re looking at is not only the excitement associated with the technology and techniques, but also the potential of patient care improvement techniques to be disseminated and utilized,” Kochman says. He hopes these technologies and developments will lead to reductions in health care costs.

Endoscopic advancements to battle obesity
Other advancements could help obese people gain access to lower-risk procedures. Trials are being performed to decrease the capacity of the stomach and to bypass absorption areas of the small bowel so they are “maldigested deliberately,” Kochman explains. Other technologies are being developed to help people feel fuller, and will decrease the desire to eat more.

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