Avantis introduces new mini endoscope

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Avantis Medical Systems Inc. has announced the invention of a miniature video endoscope that is smaller in diameter than a ballpoint pen refill. The Third Eye Retroscope has a distal tip diameter of just 3.4mm, which is so small that the device can be passed through the instrument channels of standard-size endoscopes.

Through use of the tool, doctors can pass a tiny video camera through the instrument channel of an endoscope to get additional views. Thus, The Third Eye Retroscope has the potential for especially strong application in colonoscopy, because the walls of the colon have folds and tight turns that sometimes hide polyps, cancers and other abnormalities from the view of a standard colonoscope. The retrograde view provided by the Third Eye Retroscope may significantly improve visualization of abnormalities in the colon, the company said.

The device is made using a CMOS-based process with plastic optics and reinforced catheters, and can be sold as a disposable product. Customers stands to benefit by eliminating maintenance and sterilization expenses, while also reducing the risk of contamination, Avantis said.

The company is demonstrating the device for the first time at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW 2006) conference this week in Los Angeles. The Third Eye Retroscope has not yet been submitted to the FDA for clearance.