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What is a Fiber-Optic Endoscope?

By Helena Reimer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A fiber-optic endoscope is a medical imaging device that a medical professional can insert into a patient's body to get a clear view of the inside. It has one bundle of fiber-optics that provide sufficient lighting in the body and another bundle that carries the image either to the video monitor or into an eyepiece. There are rigid and flexible endoscopes, which are used for different medical procedures. Some endoscopes have small tools attached to them, such as forceps, scissors and baskets. These tools allow the physician to perform a minor surgery, remove a sample tissue for testing or spot internal bleeding, tumors, hernias and other medical problems.

Endoscopy is a great medical breakthrough, because it helps to reduce diagnostic surgeries through the use of a fiber-optic endoscope. It may be inserted either through an opening in the body or by making a small incision in the skin. The purpose of this device is to allow the physician to spot problems and perform surgeries more effectively and with greater ease. The high number of fiber-optics provides the physician with a much brighter light and allows for more color to be seen than with an endoscope that uses a traditional filament lamp. Both the fiber-optic cable and the tools attached to it are controlled by a qualified physician.

There are many different types of endoscopes, such as an enteroscope, rhinoscope, otoscope, falloposcope and proctoscope. Each type is designed for a different medical procedure. Rigid endoscopes are used for joints, the nose, the chest and the abdominal area, and flexible endoscopes are suitable for winding passageways, such as going down the esophagus or to the urinary bladder or colon. A flexible fiber-optic endoscope is thinner than a rigid endoscope, which makes it more comfortable for patients who are undergoing the procedure.

There are several pros and cons of using a fiber-optic endoscope that one should consider before opting for this procedure. In most cases, however, the pros far outweigh any cons, especially when the procedure is carried out by a well-trained professional. The pros include less time spent in a hospital and faster healing, and it is usually less traumatic on the patient than other surgery. The cons might include a possibility of infection, organ damage and tears or other damage in the colon and esophagus. After the endoscopy, one should seek medical help in cases of fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing or abdominal pain.

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Discussion Comments

By irontoenail — On Mar 03, 2013

@MrsPramm - Even though the alternative is sometimes surgery, it isn't always. It's important for patients to realize that a procedure with an endoscope isn't going to be completely pain free, and that it does have some risks. Every time you insert a foreign object into the human body there are risks.

So, if you want to explore other options before doing this, don't be afraid to say that. Don't turn it down if it's the best option, but be aware that there are other options.

By MrsPramm — On Mar 02, 2013

@Iluviaporos - Even without the ability to create cells a fiber optic endoscope is a marvelous thing. I know people don't see it that way because they are usually worried and uncomfortable whenever they come across one, but if you look at some of the videos made from endoscopy procedures online you can see how important it is to be able to look at a person's insides without actually harming them. Before this technology the only option was to open a person up. Can you imagine having stomach pains all the time and your only real option to find out if you have cancer is for the surgeon to cut you open so they can see?

Yeah, having a endoscopy is uncomfortable, but much better than the alternative.

By lluviaporos — On Mar 01, 2013

One of the technologies I heard about recently that could be used in conjunction with an endoscope, is a kind of 3D printer that works with cells. They've already made up a prototype.

Just think about how incredible that could be. The doctor could go in with the endoscope, look around and see what damage there is and instead of sewing it up and waiting for the body to maybe fix it properly, he or she could just use the printer to fix it by creating the right cells in the right places.

The future of medicine is looking very bright. Even within our lifetimes it's going to change a great deal I think.

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