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An endoscope is a medical instrument that enables a physician to examine and treat internal organs without having to make a large surgical incision. Endoscopes are long, thin, flexible cables attached to lenses, which facilitate the process of examination and treatment. Endoscopies are typically safer procedures than surgeries because they don’t carry the same postoperative risks of infection. They also involve less recovery time for patients.

Typically, the endoscope is inserted into a body through an orifice like the mouth or through a small incision. Endoscopes allow physicians to diagnose illnesses and injuries, and they also allow physicians to carry out minimally invasive surgical procedures.

A Brief History of Endoscopy

As far back as the 11th century, physicians experimented with endoscopic methods that might allow them to visualize evidence of diseases affecting internal organs that they were unable to see with the naked eye. It wasn’t until 1853, however, that a French urologist named Antonin Jean Desormeaux first used an endoscope successfully to examine the urethra and the bladder.

Endoscopic technologies continued to be refined throughout the 19th century. In 1901, a German surgeon named Georg Kelling attempted the first endoscopic examination of the peritoneal cavity. In the 1930s, surgeons began using endoscopes not merely as diagnostic tools but also to perform laparoscopic surgeries.

Following the development of technologies that allowed the magnification and video projection of images collected by endoscopes, endoscopy became an important surgical subspecialty. Today, endoscopes are used to diagnose and treat a wide variety of issues from bleeding ulcers to ruptured spinal discs.

What Does an Endoscope Look Like?

Endoscopes can be used to look at many different types of anatomical structures within the human body such as the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, the peritoneum and the female reproductive tract.

Endoscopes consist of five basic components, any one of which may become damaged and require endoscope repair services:

• Tube

Depending on the specific function of the endoscope, its tube will either be flexible or rigid.

• Light source

The light source generally sits outside the body and is directed into the endoscopic cavity by means of optical fibers.

• Lens system

The lens system transmits the image within the endoscopic cavity to the physician who is using the endoscope.

• Eyepiece

While some endoscopes are connected to eyepieces, others are connected to cameras, which facilitate video relays to screens.

• Auxiliary channels

Some endoscopes contain auxiliary channels that allow other types of medical instruments to be used in conjunction with the endoscope.