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Locomotion Through the Intestine by Means of Rolling Stents

[+] Author Affiliations
Paul Breedveld, Daniëlle E. van der Kouwe, Maria A. J. van Gorp

Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

Paper No. DETC2004-57380, pp. 963-969; 7 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 28th Biennial Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, September 28–October 2, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4695-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3742-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Colonoscopy is a standard medical procedure in which a long and flexible endoscope is inserted into the rectum for inspection of the large intestine and for simple interventions. Pushing the endoscope tip from behind via a long and flexible tube leads easily to buckling when the tip comes in contact with sharp curves in the intestinal wall. Buckling is accompanied by painful cramps and makes it difficult to complete the procedure. A way to avoid buckling is not to push the tip from behind, but to use the friction with the intestinal wall to pull the tip forward. This paper describes the state-of-the-art in research on intestinal locomotion methods and presents a new locomotion method based on a rolling donut that is positioned around the endoscope tip. The donut functions like a circular caterpillar and is constructed from three stents that generate high friction with the intestinal wall. The diameter of the donut can be changed and the stents can be driven independently to reduce slip in intestinal curves. The resulting Rolling-Stent Endoscope contains a new steerable mechanism by which the tip can be bent in all directions over a very large angle. The Rolling-Stent Endoscope was applied for a patent and a prototype is under development for evaluation in the intestine of a pig.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: stents



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