An endoscope is defined as a thing, long and illuminated tube with a flexible body and a camera attached to it on one end. In the present medical scenario, the endoscope is one of the most important devices as it serves experts to view the internal body cavities.
Usually, endoscopes are inserted into the openings like the rectum and mouth; they can also be inserted into the body through small incisions made on the skin, especially during minimally invasive surgery.
Parts of an Endoscope
A basic endoscope comprises of various parts:
- A lens
- A long and thin, flexible tube
- A device to transmit light
- Control system
- Control cables
- Water pipes
- Operational channel
How Does an Endoscope Work?
Basically, an endoscope uses the fiber optics that enables effective transmitting of the light. The fiber optics light is transmitted to a specific area through a flexible fiber of glass, which is known as an optical fiber.
This optical fiber enables the light to travel from curved paths. This makes it one of the finest systems to view inside the spaces, which are otherwise difficult to reach. With the total internal reflection feature, the light travels along the fibers with the light rays hitting the walls of fiber at an appropriate angle.
The individual fibers can be thinner than the hair of a human. Hence, this is the best technique to use an endoscope, enter inside the body and view different parts of the body.
Usually, an endoscope contains two different sets of fibers.
- The Inner Fiber – The inner fiber is a bundle comprising bundles of fibers. But it is different from the outer fiber in a way that it is perfectly ordered. For this reason, it is also known as a coherent bundle. The small lens linked to the end of this bundle enables the light to effectively focus so that the reflected light can be gathered and transmitted for viewing.
- The Outer Fiber – This is the other fiber that contains numerous fibers, which are bundled together in a specific order. For this reason, the outer fiber is known as an incoherent bundle. This fiber is completely enclosed with a sleeve that protects it. Usually, the outer fiber is coated with steel or plastic that protects it from external elements like moisture or water.
The New Endoscope Technologies
Nowadays, there are numerous new endoscope technologies available.
1. Confocal Laser Endocytoscopy and Endomicroscopy
It is one of the newest technologies that aim at enhancing high resolution in the analysis of gastrointestinal mucosal at both the sub-cellular and cellular level.
This technique is based on the norms of illuminating the tissues that need to be identified with a lower power laser. This, in turn, enables the user to detect fluorescent light, which is reflected from the tissue.
During this process, it becomes possible to execute the in vivo examinations with images being displayed in the real-time. The technique is highly beneficial in detecting abnormal tissue growth in conditions such as ulcerative colitis.
2. Wireless Capsule Endoscopy
Another new endoscopy procedure is capsule endoscopy. This process involves the use of a small wireless camera to click pictures in the digestive system.
For this process, one has to swallow a capsule, which is the size of a vitamin capsule or a bigger pill. This technology is concerned about the use of a wireless miniature camera, which clicks pictures when the capsule is traveling through the digestive path.
When it travels down into the digestive system, the capsule transfers these images onto a screen to identify any issues in the digestive system. Just like ingested food, this capsule travels through the digestive tract and eventually moves out from the body through a stool.
The important components of capsule endoscopy are:
- Sensor array or Electrodes
- Data Recorder
An endoscope is an important medical device and is used in the various diagnosis and surgical processes. Since there are different kinds of endoscopes available in the market, so make sure you pick one on the basis of the organ to be diagnosed.