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J Endourol. 2008 Nov;22(11):2575-81. doi: 10.1089/end.2008.0471.

Nomenclature of natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and laparoendoscopic single-site surgery (LESS) procedures in urology.

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  • 1University of California Irvine, USA.



The twenty first century has witnessed some amazing advancements in surgery. In urology minimally invasive surgery has become the standard treatment for many disease processes and procedures. One of the newest innovations into this field has been the development of Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) and Laparoendoscopic Single-site Surgery (LESS). While the practice and application of these new techniques are in their infancy, there has been a great deal of confusion regarding the nomenclature and terminology associated with these procedures. The aim of this publication is to attempt to define the many issues associated with the standardization of terminology for these procedures in order to promote effective scientific progress and communication.


A literature search using Medline and pubmed focusing on all terminology to describe NOTES and LESS from 1990 to 2008 was done. In addition, various acronyms were searched using four separate online acronym databases. The information was recorded by number of citations and by the number of citations specific to the urologic literature. Based on common usage, definitions and criteria were developed to describe these procedures for current scientific publication. These terms were then collectively reviewed and agreed upon by the Urologic NOTES Working Group as a platform for consensus to begin the arduous process of standardization.


There is wide variation in the terminology and use of acronyms for natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery and laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery. The keyword literature search uncovered 8710 citations from MEDLINE and pubmed, with 363 citations specific to urology. There was significant overlap in the search of different terms. The search of established abbreviation and acronym databases revealed many citations, but relatively few specific to urology.


Standardization of the nomenclature applied to natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery (LESS) is essential as the body of literature continues to grow in order to allow clear and precise scientific communication. As the techniques continue to evolve, we propose that NOTES and LESS be designated as the common terms to define these new procedures in urology.

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