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A novel system to rapidly analyse the flexural rigidity of endoscopes used in colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kevin Burn, Dr Bob Bicker, Professor Duncan Bell, Sanja Dogramadzi, Dr Charles Allen


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Colonoscopy is the procedure that enables physicians to visually examine a patient's large intestine using specially designed endoscopes. Unfortunately it can be a lengthy and painful examination, and this is a major obstacle to plans for future colo-rectal cancer screening programmes. One of the most important factors in the effectiveness of a colonoscopy is the endoscope's 'stiffness' (or 'floppiness'). However, its determination for different instrument types is highly subjective, and little work has been undertaken to devise a universal technique for stiffness characterisation based upon sound theory. This paper describes the development of a unique, computer-based, mechatronic system that can continuously measure an endoscope's stiffness in terms of its flexural rigidity EI, along its entire shaft quickly and accurately. As the user pulls the endoscope through the system, software records data from high-resolution optical encoders that enable EI to be calculated at 1 mm intervals along the length of the shaft. The hardware and software are described, together with the results of preliminary tests that have been carried out to demonstrate system performance. A detailed comparison of EI for a number of commercially available endoscopes is now in progress, together with an analysis of the effects of temperature and sterilisation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burn K, Bicker R, Bell GD, Dogramadzi S, Allen C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of COMADEM

Year: 2003

Volume: 6

Issue: 4

Pages: 24-32

Print publication date: 01/10/2003

ISSN (print): 1363-7681

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: COMADEM International