Background: Bowel anastomosis is one of the most challenging and difficult tasks to perform during natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES). The difficulty is mainly due to the technical limitations of the endoscopic instruments available. Currently, endoscopic clips, T-bar sutures, or cumbersome suturing devices are used. A dual-lumen NOTES approach can facilitate bowel resection in a pig model by allowing the use of laparoscopic staplers through the rectum.
Methods: Acute studies were performed on four 40-kg pig models. The dual-lumen NOTES approach was used to perform small bowel resection and anastomosis. An endoscope was passed into the stomach and pushed through the stomach wall into the peritoneal cavity (first lumen), and a 12-mm trocar was placed through the anterior rectal wall, allowing access to the peritoneum (second lumen). Handling of the bowel, resection, and anastomosis were performed using endoscopic instruments through the gastric lumen and laparoscopic instruments through the rectal lumen. The resected small bowel then was removed through the rectum.
Results: Small bowel resection and anastomosis was successfully completed in all four animals using the dual-lumen NOTES approach. The laparoscopic stapler was used one more time to close the gastrotomy through the rectal port. At autopsy, intact suture lines were noted at the bowel anastomosis and at the stomach, with no evidence of leak from either site.
Conclusions: Performing a sutured anastomosis in NOTES is complex and time consuming. The use of stapling devices designed for laparoscopic procedures greatly facilitates gastrointestinal tract operations in NOTES. Using both the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract as entry sites for NOTES eliminates some of the current technical limitations of these procedures.