Feasibility studies are needed to demonstrate that safe and effective manipulation of bowel during Minimal Access Surgery (MAS) can be obtained by use of magnetic force. This paper characterises two classes of magnetic particles: stainless steel microparticles (SS-µPs) and iron oxide nanoparticles (IO-nPs) in terms of their magnetisation, chemical composition, crystallinity, morphology and size distribution. Both magnetic particles were dispersed in a high viscosity biological liquid for intraluminal injection of bowel. Ex vivo porcine bowel segments were then retracted by permanent magnetic probes of 5.0 and 10 mm diameter. Strong retraction forces reaching 6 N maximum were obtained by magnetic fluid based on dispersion of SS-µPs. In contrast, the IO-nP-based magnetic liquid generated less attraction force, due to both lower magnetic and solution properties of the IO-nPs. The comparison of the two particles allowed the identification of the rules to engineer the next generation of particles. The results with SS-µPs provide proof on concept that intraluminal injection of magnetic fluid can generate sufficient force for efficient bowel retraction. Thereafter we shall carry out in vivo animal studies for efficacy and safety of both types of ferrofluids.