Recent advancements in fetal surgery have proven that tracheal occlusion in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia is an effective way to prevent the occurrence of pulmonary hypoplasia. A novel flexible fetoscope with a parallel mechanism structure of a thumbstick to carry on the fetal tracheal balloon occlusion by the targeting and manipulation of the fetal endoscope at a high standard of quick response and dexterity is proposed in this paper. This design is compared with a commercial rigid fetoscope in terms of operation timing and reduced stress to the fetus at neck level. Experiments using a phantom have demonstrated that the flexible fetoscope has a better dexterity and is able to perform stable tracheoscopy and balloon inflation at different levels of the trachea, with the help of a fiberoptic camera.
- diaphragmatic hernia
- parallel mechanism