Endoscopes - Different types

Endoscopes for the right view

Today, endoscopes are devices used in medicine, industrial production and research. These devices are often connected to a powerful light source and have recently also been equipped with integrated LED light sources. This allows difficult-to-access areas and narrow hollow spaces to be illuminated and viewed. Endoscopes for industrial use are equipped with light cables and are often also fitted with tools.

Endoscopes in human medicine

Endoscopes play an important role in medicine. Endoscopes were developed specifically for medical diagnostics and therapy. Endoscopes can be used to illuminate, examine and document difficult-to-access areas and other body regions to facilitate diagnosis of hidden diseases. Endoscopes assist in enhancing the planning and preparation of invasive operations. These telescopes are used to examine the upper and lower respiratory tract, and the gastrointestinal tract (gastroenterology). Endoscopes are also ideal for examining joints (arthroscopy). These benefits mean that endoscopic devices have now become an indispensable tool in the armory of modern medicine. Especially when invasive surgery is being considered, the use of endoscopes has a clear advantage for the patient and the surgeon. Interventions in the patient can often be carried out in a short time and in many cases completely free of pain. Most doctors today are familiar with these devices and working with endoscopes is a routine experience for medical specialists. However, the endoscopes used in industrial production, leisure activities, or research are not suited for medical applications. Medical use requires superior-grade materials that are also biocompatible.

Rigid endoscope

In rigid endoscopes the optical system consists of a series of prisms and lenses. The main components are:

  • Objective / lens - for image formation
  • Rod lense system - for image transport
  • Ocular lense - for image magnification
Rigid endoscope with light cable

Flexible endoscope / fiber endoscope

The flexible endoscope or fiber endoscope is an endoscope, usually with an integrated working channel. The optical system used in this type of endoscope consists of fiber glass bundles. It allows a better overview of areas that are otherwise difficult to access, and offers improved brightness.

New is our CCD LED Cystoscope with integreated LED light source.

Flexible CCD LED Cystoscope from Richard Wolf

"Chip on the tip" CCD endoscope

The CCD endoscope is a further development of the fiber endoscope. It features a miniaturized CCD chip at its tip which allows the image to be transmitted to a monitor. The advantage of this new generation of endoscopes is its superior depth of field. Tiresome refocusing for close-ups and overview images is no longer required.

EYEMAX CCD endoscope from Richard Wolf
EYEMAX CCD endoscope from Richard Wolf

Operating endoscopes

In addition, operating endoscopes are equipped with irrigation and suction channels as well as channels for inserting special instruments such as, for example, biopsy forceps to obtain tissue samples.

Equipped with these additional features, endoscopes in general do not exceed diameters of 14 mm. The thinnest endoscopes used for example in pediatrics, measure only 1.9 mm in diameter. Depending on its use and medical discipline, an endoscope may be between 4 cm and 200 cm long.


Endoscope with irrigation and suction port, light cable and forcepes

Industrial endoscopes and technoscopes

The right equipment provides endoscopic access even to areas that are difficult to reach.
Endoscopes can be used to mount additional parts or carry out maintenance and repair work in areas with angled accesses, complex configurations, narrow pipe systems and under similar conditions. Endoscopes come in different sizes and varying diameters and lengths. If required, additional cameras or light sources can be attached using adapters. The industrial and craft sectors deploy endoscopes perfectly suited to examining pipes such as car exhaust systems, and other lines, ducts or cavities. Additional pictures taken of the illuminated areas can be used for documenting the inside of systems that are difficult to access. This also enables expert reports to be generated and hidden defects can be located. Endoscopic technology has advanced to a level that permits photos to be taken and complete videos to be obtained. Endoscopic devices are required by industry and also have uses in leisure and hobby activities. These devices allow amateur photographers to shoot pictures that could not be achieved with conventional photographic equipment. Other uses include nature research where animals are documented in hidden habitats and plants with strange shapes can be recorded in many different ways.