Rigid endoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses specially adapted instruments and cameras to access areas of the body that are otherwise inaccessible without major surgical intervention.
The use of digital recording equipment and high-definition monitors allows much improved visualisation of the area of interest, and allows targeted sampling of potential lesions. Surgical procedures utilising rigid endoscopy are often referred to as ‘keyhole’ procedures.
Some examples of procedures using rigid endoscopy are:
Laparoscopy - This is where the abdominal cavity is accessed using special instrumentation and cameras, rather than via a traditional ‘open’ method. Laparoscopic incisions are using 3-10mm long, requiring a single stitch to close - versus the wound of an open approach, which may be 50-100mm long - and recovery time post-operatively is generally much faster than equivalent ‘open’ procedures. Laparoscopy allows detailed examination and targeted sample gathering of the abdominal organs, complete with digital photography and recording facilities for record-keeping purposes e.g.liver biopsy.
Thoracoscopy - This is using minimally invasive techniques to access the chest cavity, and is vastly less traumatic than the equivalent open thoracotomy. Thoracoscopy allows detailed examination of the heart and lungs, as well as for delicate surgical procedures to be performed such as pericardectomy, thoracic duct occlusion, mass removals or biopsies..
Rhinoscopy - This technique allows us to image the inside of an animals’ nose with no need for external surgical incision, and gives a magnification and clarity that is not otherwise obtainable. Rhinoscopy is commonly used to remove nasal foreign bodies, during the diagnosis, resection and laser ablation of nasal tumours, and for treating fungal infections (such as Aspergillus spp).
Urethrocystoscopy - This is performed in female animals with a rigid endoscope and in males with a flexible endoscope, and is a way of examining the urethra and inside the bladder without the need for a surgical incision. It is commonly used for removal of small bladder stones, treatment of incontinence, and the diagnosis, resection and laser ablation of polyps or neoplasia.
Rigid endoscopy can also be used to provide a minimally invasive component to otherwise major surgery, for example: laparoscopic-assisted cystotomy, enterotomy or splenectomy.
All of these procedures can be carried out on cats as well as dogs.