Evaluation of the tip-bending response in clinically used endoscopes

Esther Rozeboom, Rob Reilink, Matthijs P. Schwartz, Paul Fockens, Ivo A.M.J. Broeders

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    Background and study aims: Endoscopic interventions require accurate and precise control of the endoscope tip. The endoscope tip response depends on a cable pulling system, which is known to deliver a significantly nonlinear response that eventually reduces control. It is unknown whether the current technique of endoscope tip control is adequate for a future of high precision procedures, steerable accessories, and add-on robotics. The aim of this study was to determine the status of the tip response of endoscopes used in clinical practice. Materials and methods: We evaluated 20 flexible colonoscopes and five gastroscopes, used in the endoscopy departments of a Dutch university hospital and two Dutch teaching hospitals, in a bench top setup. First, maximal tip bending was determined manually. Next, the endoscope navigation wheels were rotated individually in a motor setup. Tip angulation was recorded with a USB camera. Cable slackness was derived from the resulting hysteresis plot. Results: Only two of the 20 colonoscopes (10%) and none of the five gastroscopes reached the maximal tip angulation specified by the manufacturer. Four colonoscopes (20%) and none of the gastroscopes demonstrated the recommended cable tension. Eight colonoscopes (40%) had undergone a maintenance check 1 month before the measurements were made. The tip responses of these eight colonoscopies did not differ significantly from the tip responses of the other colonoscopes. Conclusion: This study suggests that the majority of clinically used endoscopes are not optimally tuned to reach maximal bending angles and demonstrate adequate tip responses. We suggest a brief check before procedures to predict difficulties with bending angles and tip responses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E466-E471
    Number of pages6
    JournalEndoscopy international open
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


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