Endoluminal and transluminal surgery current status and future possibilities

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Abstract

The field of minimally invasive surgery has seen tremendous growth since the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed in 1987. The key question is not how successful these techniques are currently, but rather where may they lead in the future? New technologies promise to usher in an era of even less invasive procedures. The terms being coined in the literature include “incisionless,” “endoluminal,” “transluminal,” and “natural orifice” transluminal endoscopic surgery. These techniques certainly have the potential to become the next wave of minimally invasive procedures. A recent editorial in Surgical Endoscopy by Macfadyen and Cuschieri highlighted the ongoing developments in endoscopic surgery and stressed the critical importance of surgeons being involved in future applications and permutations of these techniques [1]. There are early signs of such involvement. The work of numerous investigators in the field was presented recently at the 2005 Digestive Disease Week. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), in collaboration with the American College of Surgeons, recently organized a postgraduate course in endoluminal therapy at the spring 2005 meeting held in Hollywood, Florida. The course is being offered again at the 2006 SAGES annual meeting. Similar courses are being offered at other regional and national meetings. This review attempts to highlight some of the available and evolving endoluminal therapies reviewed at that forum, including techniques for the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease, endoscopic mucosal resection, endoluminal bariatric surgery, transanal endoscopic microsurgery, and transgastric endoscopic surgery, as well as new technologies and possible future directions in luminal access surgery.

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