Background and Objectives:
Natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) is a development of recent origin. In 2004, Kalloo et al first described NOTES investigation in an animal model. Since then, several investigators have pursued NOTES study in animal survival and nonsurvival models. Our objectives for this project included studying NOTES intervention in a laboratory environment using large animal (swine) models and learning to do so in a safe, controlled manner. Ultimately, we intend to introduce NOTES methodology into our surgical residency training program. The expertise of an experienced laparoscopic surgeon, fellowship-trained laparoendoscopic surgeon, and veterinarian along with a senior surgical resident was utilized to bring the input of several disciplines to this study. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM/COP) approved this study.
A series of 5 laboratory sessions using mixed breed farm swine varying in weight from 37 kg to 43.1 kg was planned for the initial phase of NOTES introduction into our residency program. Animals were not kept alive in this investigation. All animals were anesthetized using a standard swine protocol and euthanized following guidelines issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia. Equipment included a Fujinon EVE endoscope 0.8 cm in diameter with a suction/irrigation channel and one working channel. Initially, a US Endoscopy gastric overtube, 19.5 mm OD and 50 cm in length, was used to facilitate passage of the endoscope. However, this device was found to have insufficient length. Subsequently, commercially available 5/8” diameter clear plastic tubing, 70 cm to 80 cm in length, was adapted for use as an overtube. Standard endoscopic instruments included Boston Scientific biopsy forceps, needle-knife, papillotome, endoscopic clip applier, and Valley Lab electrosurgical unit. A Karl Storz laparoscope and tower were used for laparoscopic observation of NOTES maneuvers. Necropsy was performed to determine specific details of surgical intervention.
NOTES intervention is feasible in an animal model. Insight into the potential of NOTES was obtained in this investigation.
NOTES investigation in a controlled, laboratory setting using an animal model proved to have value for our program. A steep learning curve was encountered despite the availability of an investigator familiar with elementary NOTES procedures. The authors strongly suggest investigators adopt the ASGE/SAGES working group recommendations for a multidisciplinary team possessing advanced therapeutic endoscopic and advanced laparoscopic skills to study NOTES before human investigation. Animal laboratory facilities to perform research and training should be available to the multidisciplinary team for exploration of NOTES techniques and procedures. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must be obtained before introduction of NOTES procedures in human patients.