Although Myriad provides a number of different products and services, our primary product offerings are medical imaging and illumination systems. As such, our employees use many terms, on a daily basis, that are common to the optics and medical fields. A number of these terms may not be familiar to our new and potential customers. So the next couple of our blog entries will be devoted to their descriptions and definitions.
We’ll begin with scopes, or probes, as some people refer to them. Scopes are used to inspect/view objects that are inaccessible by any other standard method. Scopes are technically referred to as ‘borescopes’, or ‘boroscopes’; and are primarily used in industrial applications. Borescopes used for viewing within the human body are known as ‘endoscopes’.
There are two main types of borescopes/endoscopes: rigid or flexible.
Rigid endoscopes are usually somewhat larger in diameter (10mm – 12mm), and shorter (12 – 16 inches) than flexible scopes. Rigid scopes are usually constructed using glass rods and lenses for the imaging elements. Sterilizing methods for rigid scopes include autoclaving, as well as all the other usual processes. The single most detrimental feature of a rigid scope is that excessive flexing during use, will shatter the rods, and or lenses, and render the device useless. Being rigid also limits the use to ‘straight line’ access; there can be no looking around corners. On a couple of occasions, Myriad has been asked manufacture a short, rigid endoscope, with an unusually small outside diameter of 2mm – 3mm. These endoscopes used flexible image fiber for the image transmission.
Flexible endoscopes or borescopes are more commonly much smaller in diameter (1mm – 3mm), and range from several inches long, to as much as 30 feet in length. A more generic term used for these flexible devices is ‘fiberscope’. The imaging component is fused glass/quartz multi-mode fiber. Most flexible endoscopes can be sterilized by all the usual methods, except autoclaving. The flexible scope is obviously not subject to the same bending issues as rigid scopes. In fact, bending is where flexible endoscopes shine; allowing viewing around corners in tight spaces.
In our next blog entry, we’ll discuss illumination systems.