An endoscope is a medical instrument used for exploratory, diagnostic, and surgical purposes. An endoscope is used explore the interior of a body cavity or organ. The endoscope is inserted through a natural opening, such as the mouth for a bronchoscopy or the rectum for a sigmoidoscopy, as well as small incisions. A medical procedure using any type of endoscope is called endoscopy.
An endoscope employs two fiber-optic lines through a tube. The light fiber channels light into the body cavity and the image fiber transports the image of the body cavity back to the physician's viewing lens. An endoscope also has a separate port that allows for the administration of irrigation, suction, and/or drugs. The endoscope port may also be used for the utilization of small surgical instruments such as scissors, forceps, scalpels, brushes, snares, or baskets for tissue removal, sampling, and other diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Endoscopes may be used in conjunction with a miniature camera or video recorder to register multiple images of the interior of a joint or organ, and to basically chronicle any endoscopic procedure. Innovations in endoscope technology have developed instruments that now have digital capabilities for manipulating and enhancing the video images they transmit.
The endoscope first appeared in the medical profession in the early 1900’s. Though crude in design when compared to modern endoscopes, these early prototypes were used to view the interior of the body. These early endoscopes were typically fully rigid. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the flexible endoscope appeared. These instruments were developed to view the interior of the stomach. In 1957 the first fiber-optic model was invented by gastroenterologist Basil Hirschowitz at the University of Michigan. It didn’t take long for this instrument to gain popularity in the medical field and by the 1960’s, use of fiber optic endoscopes was widespread. This innovation revolutionized the practice of endoscopy as well as a key invention in fiber-optic communication in multiple industries outside the medical field.
Endoscopes and the specific variations that have branched from them are now widely used for various diagnostic and surgical procedures, for example:
• Arthroscopy - a procedure orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint
• Biopsy - the removal of a sample of tissue from the body for examination
• Bronchoscopy - allows doctors to examine the interior of airways for abnormalities such as foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation
• Colonoscopy - used to view the interior of the large intestine to check for abnormalities of the inner lining such as colitis, colon polyps, and cancer
• Gastroscopy- used to evaluate the interior of the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine, otherwise known as the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract
• Laparoscopy - refers to operations within the abdomen or pelvic cavity
• Sigmoidoscopy - used to examine the inside of the rectum and the lower part of the colon to help find cancer or polyps
• Tracheostomy - an operation that incises the skin over the trachea and making a surgical wound in the trachea to permit and create an airway during a tracheal obstruction
• Ureteropyeloscopy - used to look inside the ureter when there is a stone, a stricture, or a tumor affecting passage of urine
Each endoscope in our inventory is just one category of the many surgical instruments and diagnostic instruments we carry in our on-line catalogue.
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