Endocuff (Colonoscopy Device) by Alasdair Barnett
2012 - 2013, Silver A' Scientific Instruments, Medical Devices and Research Equipment Design Award Winner
Inspiration came through the practical difficulties in a conventional colonoscopy, including the colonoscope slipping back, the forces required to push can be quite high causing patient discomfort, the tip can move during procedure and is difficult to stabilise and current scopes can miss legions that hide behind colon folds and there is no way to view behind folds. These factors created the design challenge that DesignEdge needed to meet on a technical and aesthetic level, effectively these medical problems were the basis to the inspiration and an eventual solution.
Endocuff is an innovative disposable device that slips onto the end of conventional colonoscopes to improve mucosal vision and enhance tip control. EndoCuff features soft flexible projections which gently support the tip of the colonoscope in the centre of the colonic lumen providing stability and reducing sudden slip back, looping and patient discomfort. The projections evert large folds and flatten small folds so more mucosa can be visualised. Colonoscopists use the flexible arms to manipulate folds and polyps. Each soft projection moves independently, rotating on a hinge at its base providing an improved position. During forward motion the hairs fall flush with the body.
Design Challenges
The challenge was to create a simple, flexible retrofit cap to improve the colonoscopy procedure in terms of visibility, detection, speed (it is currently a 25-30 minute procedure) and patient comfort. The product also had to be able to attach to a number of colonoscope sizes and be mass produced.
Production Technology
EndoCuff’s unique industrial design uses advanced polymer technology to provide a rigid support structure combined with flexible projections which gently open the colon wall. The design language reflects a compact, high quality, technically detailed device suitable for the medical environment. There are a number of size variants available in different medically compatible colours designed to fit various colonoscope sizes and models. The design uses a twin shot moulding process and DesignEdge selected Boddingtons Plastics a specialist in developing technical medical mouldings for volume manufacture. Working closely with Boddingtons the part was detailed to include 8 side actions to manufacture the two layers of flexible hairs in a circular arrangement. The hard outer shell allows the part to be rigid for application to the endoscope whilst the soft moulding ensures hairs remain flexible ensuring minimum trauma during the procedure. This allows the inside of the cap to protect the colonoscope during application. The flexible feature also allows the EndoCuff to fit a number of different size scopes, with DesignEdge developing four different sizes which are colour coded to fit the wide variety of scopes and ensure that the fit is perfect for every scope.
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