Computer-Assisted Colonoscopy may Circumvent "looping"

June 3, 2007
Wayne Kuznar

Internal Medicine World Report, July 2006, Volume 0, Issue 0

LOS ANGELES—A unique colonoscope uses a computer to limit loop formation during colonoscopy, possibly improving patient comfort. A preliminary study in 10 individuals found computer-assisted colonoscopy to be effective and well tolerated, said Jacques Van Dam, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, at Digestive Disease Week 2006.

He referred to loop formation, which displaces the colon from its native configuration, as “the major discomfort during colonoscopy.”

The computerized colonoscope maps the head of the scope and controls the insertion tube behind it, he explained. The insertion tube has a number of articulated hinges, allowing movement every 1 to 2 cm, which limits loop formation.

An initial test was performed in 10 patients aged 19 to 80 years who met inclusion criteria for screening or diagnostic colonoscopy. The cecum was reached in all patients, and the terminal ileum was reached in 9. The cecum was reached in 5 to 6 minutes in 3 of the 10 patients. Compared with a standard colonoscope, “it’s as fast or faster than the average time to the cecum,” he said.

There were no complications or adverse effects at discharge, 48 hours, or 30 days. All 10 patients said they would be willing to undergo the procedure again.