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      Natural Orifice Transesophageal Endoscopic Surgery: State of the Art

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          The main goal of Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) is performing surgery avoiding skin incisions. Theoretical advantages of NOTES include decreased postoperative pain, reduction/elimination of general anesthesia, improved cosmetic outcomes, elimination of skin incision-related complications such as wound infections and hernias, and increased overall patient satisfaction. Although various forms of port creation to accomplish thoracic NOTES procedures have been proposed, transesophageal NOTES has been shown to be the most reliable one. The evolution of endoscopic submucosal transesophageal access resulted in the development of per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), which had a fast transition to clinical practice. The authors present a review of the current state of the art concerning transesophageal NOTES, looking at its potential for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions as well as the hurdles yet to be overcome.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Flexible transgastric peritoneoscopy: a novel approach to diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in the peritoneal cavity.

          A novel endoscopic peroral transgastric approach to the peritoneal cavity was tested in a porcine model in acute and long-term survival experiments. Transgastric peritoneoscopy was evaluated in 50-kg pigs. After upper endoscopy, the peritoneal cavity was accessed by needle-knife puncture of the gastric wall, followed by extension of the incision either with a pull-type sphincterotome or by balloon dilation. The peritoneal cavity was examined, and a liver biopsy specimen was obtained. The gastric wall incision was closed with clips. Twelve acute and 5 survival experiments were performed. Both techniques of gastric wall incision were without complication. The acute experiments demonstrated the technical feasibility of the approach. In the survival experiments, all pigs recovered and gained weight. The peroral transgastric approach to peritoneal cavity technically is feasible and has the potential to be an alternative to laparoscopy and laparotomy.
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            Submucosal endoscopic esophageal myotomy: a novel experimental approach for the treatment of achalasia.

            The most permanent method of treating achalasia is a surgical myotomy. Because of the requirement for a mucosal incision and the risk of perforation, this procedure has not generally been approached endoscopically. We hypothesized that we could perform a safe and robust myotomy by working in the submucosal space, accessed from the esophageal lumen. Four pigs were used for this experiment. Baseline lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressures were recorded and the pigs underwent upper endoscopy using a standard endoscope. A submucosal saline lift was created approximately 5 cm above the LES and a small nick was made in the mucosa in order to facilitate the introduction of a dilating balloon. After dilation, the scope was introduced over the balloon into the submucosal space and advanced toward the now visible fibers of the LES. The circular layer of muscle was then cleanly incised using an electrocautery knife in a distal-to-proximal fashion, without complications. The scope was then withdrawn back into the lumen and the mucosal defect was closed with endoscopically applied clips. The entire procedure took less than 15 minutes. Manometry was repeated on day 5 after the procedure and the animals were euthanized on day 7. LES pressures fell significantly from an average of 16.4 mm Hg to an average of 6.7 mm Hg after the myotomy. The necropsy examinations revealed no evidence of mediastinitis or peritonitis. Endoscopic submucosal esophageal myotomy is feasible, safe, and effective in the short term. It has the potential for being useful in patients with achalasia. The submucosal space is a novel and potentially important field of operation for endoscopic procedures.
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              A stepwise approach and early clinical experience in peroral endoscopic myotomy for the treatment of achalasia and esophageal motility disorders.

              Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) has recently been described in humans as a treatment for achalasia. This concept has evolved from developments in natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and has the potential to become an important therapeutic option. We describe our approach as well as our initial clinical experience as part of an ongoing study treating achalasia patients with POEM. Five patients (mean age 64 ± 11 years) with esophageal motility disorders were enrolled in an IRB-approved study and underwent POEM. This completely endoscopic procedure involved a midesophageal mucosal incision, a submucosal tunnel onto the gastric cardia, and selective division of the circular and sling fibers at the lower esophageal sphincter. The mucosal entry was closed by conventional hemostatic clips. All patients had postoperative esophagograms before discharge and initial clinical follow-up 2 weeks postoperatively. All (5 of 5) patients successfully underwent POEM treatment, and the myotomy had a median length of 7 cm (range 6 to 12 cm). After the procedure, smooth passage of the endoscope through the gastroesophageal junction was observed in all patients. Operative time ranged from 120 to 240 minutes. No leaks were detected in the swallow studies and mean length of stay was 1.2 ± 0.4 days. No clinical complications were observed, and at the initial follow-up, all patients reported dysphagia relief without reflux symptoms. Our initial experience with the POEM procedure demonstrates its operative safety, and early clinical results have shown good results. Although further evaluation and long-term data are mandatory, POEM could become the treatment of choice for symptomatic achalasia. Copyright © 2011 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Minim Invasive Surg
                Minim Invasive Surg
                Minimally Invasive Surgery
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                9 April 2012
                : 2012
                1Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, 4709-057 Braga, Portugal
                2ICVS/3B's, PT Government Associate Laboratory, 4709-057 Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
                3Department of Pediatric Surgery, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, 4099-001 Porto, Portugal
                4Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital de Braga, 4710-243 Braga, Portugal
                5Department of Pediatric Surgery, Hospital de Braga, 4710-243 Braga, Portugal
                Author notes
                *Jorge Correia-Pinto: jcp@

                Academic Editor: Luigi Boni

                Copyright © 2012 João Moreira-Pinto et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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