An Israeli company by the name “Given Imaging” has invented a Video Pill, that is about an inch long and half an inch wide. It is swallowed like a regular pill with some water and once swallowed travels the entire length of the intestine and transmits images that is recorded and analyzed. Compare this to what is currently being used, a fiber optic endoscope that has to be passed either through the mouth to look at ones stomach or through the rectum to look at distal part of the intestines.
This Video Pill…also known as ‘Capsule Endoscope’ has smooth surface and is resistant to digestive juices and is excreted normally in about 3 days. It has source of light and a transmitter. He has to wear a belt like device that carries a data recorder and sensors to capture the video images transmitted by the pill as it travels the entire intestinal tract. The patient after swallowing the pill, may return to his routine activities.
This device was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the year 2001 and the Insurance companies cover the cost of this procedure. Depending of course upon doctors obtaining prior authorization from Insurance companies. This is fairly expensive procedure costing about US$2,000. But the ease of use and the accuracy of finding a problem, hitherto missed by conventional methods of investigations outweighs the cost.
A patient with ulcers in the intestine, takes this pill, goes to work, without any discomfort and returns few hours later. The doctor removes the belt along with the sensors and Data Recorder. The pill would have transmitted a mind boggling 58,000 images to be analyzed and the doctor can confidently tell the patient status of his disease!!!
However there is a caveat….not all are candidates for this procedure. Anybody with cardiac pacemaker, or with any other kind of electromagnetic device or patients with intestinal blockage are not candidates for this procedure.
Hopefully this procedure becomes more accepted and more Insurance companies begin to cover the expenses.
da Vinci Robotic System
“Intuitive Surgical” is another company that is located in Sunnyvale, California that pioneered the use of Robotic System in the field of surgery especially Cardiac Surgery.
The System allows Cardiac Surgeons, until now not possible, to do surgery through tiny incisions and is revolutionizing the way surgery is done. Patients spend less time in the hospital, with minimal pain and injury to surrounding tissue.
With state of the art Robotic Technology, the Robotic wrist can be turned 360 degrees. The surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and seamlessly converted into accurate movements of the instruments.
When using the da Vinci Robotic System, the operating surgeon is comfortably seated at a console visualizing a 3-D picture of the operating field. The system effortlessly translates the surgeons hand, wrist and finger movements into accurate, real time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.
Depending on the complexity of planned surgery, the surgeon may attach, two, three or even four arms to the Robot to do the surgery. The images during surgery are enhanced, refined and optimized using image synchronize rs, high intensity illuminators and camera control units.
The da Vinci System has been approved by US Food and Drug Administration for clinical use and is the only system that is commercially available.
Author: Dr. K.B. Mallya- Canada