Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery for intra‐abdominal emergency conditions. BJS 2014; 101: 80-89.

Published: 25th November 2013

Authors: J. Bingener, I. Ibrahim‐zada


Patient benefits from natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) are of interest in acute‐care surgery. This review provides an overview of the historical development of NOTES procedures, and addresses their current uses and limitations for intra‐abdominal emergency conditions.


A PubMed search was carried out for articles describing NOTES approaches for appendicectomy, percutaneous gastrostomy, hollow viscus perforation and pancreatic necrosectomy. Pertinent articles were reviewed and data on available outcomes synthesized.


Emergency conditions in surgery tax the patient's cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and fluid and electrolyte balance. The operative intervention itself leads to an inflammatory response and blood loss, thus adding to the physiological stress. NOTES provides a minimally invasive alternative access to the peritoneal cavity, avoiding abdominal wall incisions. A clear advantage to the patient is evident with the implementation of an endoscopic approach to deal with inadvertently displaced percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes and perforated gastroduodenal ulcer. The NOTES approach appears less invasive for patients with infected pancreatic necrosis, in whom it allows surgical debridement and avoidance of open necrosectomy. Transvaginal appendicectomy is the second most frequently performed NOTES procedure after cholecystectomy. The NOTES concept has provided a change in perspective for intramural and transmural endoscopic approaches to iatrogenic perforations during endoscopy.


NOTES approaches have been implemented in clinical practice over the past decade. Selected techniques offer reduced invasiveness for patients with intra‐abdominal emergencies, and may improve outcomes. Steady future development and adoption of NOTES are likely to follow as technology improves and surgeons become comfortable with the approaches.

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