Swallowable medical devices for diagnosis and surgery: The state of the art

  • Toennies J
  • Tortora G
  • Simi M
 et al. 
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The first wireless camera pills created a revolutionary new perspective for engineers and physicians, demonstrating for the first time the feasibility of achieving medical objectives deep within the human body from a swallowable, wireless platform. The approximately 10 years since the first camera pill has been a period of great innovation in swallowable medical devices. Many modules and integrated systems have been devised to enable and enhance the diagnostic and even robotic capabilities of capsules working within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This article begins by reviewing the motivation and challenges of creating devices to work in the narrow, winding, and often inhospitable GI environment. Then the basic modules of modern swallowable wireless capsular devices are described, and the state of the art in each is discussed. This article is concluded with a perspective on the future potential of swallowable medical devices to enable advanced diagnostics beyond the capability of human visual perception, and even to directly deliver surgical tools and therapy non-invasively to interventional sites deep within the GI tract. © 2010 Authors.

Author-supplied keywords

  • capsules
  • endoluminal devices
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • robotic capsules
  • surgical endoscopy
  • swallowable devices
  • wireless capsule endoscopy

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  • J. L. Toennies

  • G. Tortora

  • M. Simi

  • P. Valdastri

  • R. J. Webster

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