Development of a Colonoscopy Simulator for the Evaluation of Colonoscopy Devices

  • Markus Pakleppa

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Colonoscopy is the current standard for colorectal cancer screening. This procedure requires improvement since it causes patient pain and can even result in injury. Novel colonoscopy devices have to be evaluated to gain information about their performance. At the preclinical stage of the device development the evaluation is typically performed in laboratory experiments. For these experiments an artificial environment is required which can recreate the anatomical and biomechanical features of the colon.

    A colonoscopy simulator for the evaluation of colonoscopy devices was developed within the ERC funded CoDIR project (Colonic Disease Investigation by Robotic Hydrocolonoscopy). The here developed simulator had to provide a colon phantom with realistic biomechanical properties as well as a sensor setup to measure signals which can be used to quantify the performance of devices which are tested within the simulator.

    Related literature was reviewed and possible tissue mimicking materials were selected. The suitability of the selected materials was evaluated by testing the frictional and elastic properties of the materials and subsequently comparing the results to those of colon tissue. PVA cryogel was selected as the most suitable material as it exhibits comparable elasticity and coefficients of friction. The tissue mimicking materials were mould casted into phantoms which were designed to represent the anatomical features of the colon. A simulator environment was developed which integrates the phantom as well as force and pressure sensors into a functional system. The sensors measure mesenteric forces and intraluminal pressures which can be related to the performance of tested devices. The simulator allows the arrangement of the sensors and the phantoms in an adjustable, modular approach.

    The simulator environment was successfully applied in the evaluation of a novel colonoscopy device. The results indicate that PVA cryogels exhibit unique mechanical properties which can be compared to those of colon tissue. The developed colonoscopy simulator provides a promising tool which can aid the development of novel colonoscopy devices.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRobert Keatch (Supervisor) & Jan Vorstius (Supervisor)


    • Colonoscopy
    • Surgical technique
    • Simulator
    • Device evaluation
    • Phantom
    • Tissue mimicking material

    Cite this