First-ever autonomously controlled colon ‘capsule robot’ performs polyp removal

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In an animal model, the capsule was able to perform therapeutic manoeuvres, such as biopsies and polyp removal.

Scientists have developed the first-ever ‘capsule robot’ which can perform intricate surgical procedures inside the colon via an external magnet.

Attendees at the 2017 Digestive Disease Week conference taking place in Chicago, were introduced to the ground-breaking 18mm capsule colonoscope, which can be paired with standard medical instruments to perform intricate manoeuvres inside the colon, guided by an external magnet attached to a robotic arm. The capsule robot has a tether smaller in diameter than conventional endoscopes and, at the press of a button, can complete retroflexion within an average of 12 seconds.

It is hoped the capsule, which is inserted rectally, could be used to identify and remove tumours detected during colonoscopy. In an animal model, the capsule robot was not only able to actively manoeuvre through the GI tract to perform diagnostics, it was also able to perform therapeutic manoeuvres, such as biopsies and polyp removal, something that other capsule devices have not been able to do.

Following the success of these tests in a pig, the device is expected to enter human trials at the end of 2018.

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