Robotic rectum offers new prostate cancer diagnostic insights

5 July 2016

A new robotic rectum has been developed to provide doctors and nurses with fresh insights into the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Developed by scientists at Imperial College London, the system consists of a set of prosthetic buttocks and a rectum with in-built robotic technology, offering staff a chance to perform simulated rectal examinations that accurately recreate the feel of a live subject.

The device contains small robotic arms that apply pressure to the silicone rectum to help emulate the correct shape. It is thought that the technology may now be adapted for gynaecological exams.

Internal examination techniques are typically difficult to teach as it is difficult for the trainer to see what the trainee is doing. Moreover, few patients agree to volunteer as practice subjects.

Dr Fernando Bello from the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London said: "The results of these examinations can have major implications for patients - they are very important for early diagnosis of various conditions such as prostate cancer."

Around one in eight men in the UK suffer from prostate cancer at some point in their lives, while 75 per cent of men over 70 suffer from benign prostate enlargement, which can cause urinary problems.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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