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How Do Endoscopes Work?

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Before the advent of modern medicine, physicians could only do so much to diagnose and treat ailments without cutting you open to get a first-hand look inside. Nowadays, this practice is a thing of the past. Doctors are able to see what is going on inside the human body, with the assistance of a medical telescope, endoscopes and other such devices, without having to cut open the body to see.

What is an endoscope?

An endoscope is a specialized telescope that allows physicians to see inside the body’s cavities. Unlike a regular telescope, an endoscope is flexible, allowing the physician to examine harder to reach cavities. Most endoscopes are comprised of two or three main optical cables, each made up of up to 50,000 separate optical fibers. One or two of the cables carry the necessary light down into the body, while the third cable carries the reflected light (the image of the inside of the patient’s body) back to the physician.

Endoscope Surgery

Most endoscopes used today are equipped to do more than just shine a light in and out of a patient’s body. Most are able to carry out small, minimally invasive surgeries, remove materials causing an obstruction, and perform biopsies. The advantage of using an endoscope for a minimally invasive surgery is that the procedure is simpler, quicker, less expensive, and less traumatic than other methods.

Different Types of Endoscopes

Different types of endoscopes are used for different procedures. In fact, the term “endoscope” is a generic term for an instrument that is used to look inside any part of the human body. Below are specific types of endoscopes that are used for specific procedures.

  • Arthroscope: Joints
  • Bronchoscope: Esophagus and lung
  • Colonoscope: Colon and bowel
  • Cytoscope: Bladder
  • Duodenofiberscope: Small Intestine
  • Esophagoscope: Esophagus
  • Fetoscope: Womb
  • Gastroscope: Stomach
  • Laparoscope: Abdomen
  • Laryngoscope: Larynx
  • Proctoscope: Lower Part of the Large Intestine
  • Sigmoidoscope: Large Intestine

As you can see, endoscopes and medical telescopes play a vital role in diagnosing and treating patients without the need for invasive surgery. Chances are if you are having a minimally-invasive procedure, an endoscope of some kind will be used.