An endoscope is a medical instrument used to examine the interior of a body cavity or organ by insertion of the instrument into the body. Disease in the body can be diagnosed and direct biopsy sampling can be feasibly performed under vision with an endoscope. Aside from diagnosis, therapeutic endoscopy can also be performed in some cases.
The basic structure of an endoscope consists largely of a probe that is inserted into the body to generate an image, a controller that operates the probe, and a medical image visualization system that visualizes the image information. For instance, early neoplasia lesions usually occur at the surface of mucous membranes and a common occurrence is microvascular proliferation at the mucosal surface layer.
Since early cancer is literally a very early state of the disease, distinguishing it from the surrounding normal tissue by visual identification under a normal endoscope is challenging. However, endoscopes with specialized functions, such as magnification endoscopes, mBLU, NBI endoscopes, and other technologies can yield higher detection and delineation in order to facilitate therapeutic intervention in addition to high detection. These advancements in optical technologies have enabled an increase in the detection rate for even precancerous lesions.
Unfamiliarity and unease in adapting to a new instrument can lead to a preference for the products of a certain endoscopy company, manifesting as a monopoly on such products by one particular company.
However, such situations are not helpful to either doctors or patients. Endoscope selection requires a broad range of choices of instrument, since each product has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on cost of ownership and after sales support.
The development of instruments and competitive pricing of products can be expected with a wide range of choices, which prevents the monopolistic position of particular products. As far as diagnosis and treatment is concerned, image quality is the most important factor, for which the introduction of diverse endoscope technologies should be considered.
Newer technologies like LED at the tip which help in elimination of fragile glass fibers for light transmission in the endoscopes and also help in elimination of costly and non-eco-friendly power guzzling xenon lamps should be encouraged.
The endoscopists should be trained with diverse, technology-based endoscopy systems beyond the most popularly adapted technologies to get higher clinical outcomes. The present market demand of endoscopes is for:
- Screening and early detection of cancer etc. – high definition (HD) systems with integrated dual modes of near/far focus along with spectral imaging and water jet functionality
- Screening endoscopes (non HD) – for diagnosis/detection along with foreign body removal, stent placement, and sclerotherapy
All such endoscopes with cutting-edge technologies are now being manufactured in India cost effectively, saving users precious money of repairs and the country of vital foreign resources.