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A multifunctional minirobot system for endoscopy

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Fibre optics reduce risks in early pregnancy

New technology has been developed for the earlier examination of foetuses in the womb.

Health

The mini-endoscope, or fetoscope, will make it possible for operations to be carried out even very early in pregnancy. The instrument that has been developed uses fibre optics, and so it is flexible. Earlier tools designed for foetal examination had been rigid, making them unsuitable in many situations. The new fetoscope is also smaller, only 1.0 mm in diameter, yet it provides clear images and high resolution. Another, larger version, measuring 2.0 mm in diameter, has also been designed for examinations in later pregnancy. In addition, the fibre-optic technology allows the fetoscope to be variable in length, allowing a surgeon even greater flexibility and control. Since the eyepiece can also be kept separate from the fibre optic, the instrument is even more versatile and manageable. The new fetoscope is a significant breakthrough for internal examination and operation in early pregnancy, when the foetus is usually most at risk.

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