Argon Plasma Coagulation and the Future Applications for Dual-Mode Endoscopic Probes

Sep 18, 2006

Jerome Canady, MD, Kimberly Wiley, MD, Biagio Ravo, MD
Argon plasma coagulation (APC) is a thermoablative technique increasingly being used in endoscopy. Since its introduction, the flexible APC probe has been employed by endoscopists throughout the world. APC has helped change the endoscopic management of many gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, including hemorrhagic proctitis, watermelon stomach, bleeding peptic ulcer, and colonic varices. Endoscopists and surgeons are creatively combining standard and new electrosurgical techniques with APC. For instance,. APC used in combination with piecemeal polypectomy, endoscopic mucosal resection, balloon dilatation for strictures, and plasma welding of bleeding vessels after sclerotherapy injection are among the recent innovative techniques reported. Other emerging innovations using APC that are being considered include endoscopic en bloc resection of mucosal and submucosal tumors of the GI tract, endoscopic mucosal resection supplemented with APC for high-grade dysplasia and early GI cancers, endoscopic repair of anastomotic strictures, and welding GI fistula tracts. As such, endoscopists require more efficient and cost-effective multifunctional thermoablative probes. This review discusses the development and the potential application of dual-mode plasma endoscopic probes in fulfilling these emerging needs.