Optic fibers are used widely in the medical field for diagnosing and treating a variety of ailments. Because optic fibers can be made extremely thin and made into flexible strands, they can be used for insertion into blood vessels, lungs and other parts of the body. Optic fibers have been enabling physicians to look and work inside the body through tiny incisions with an instrument called an Endoscope. An Endoscope is a medical instrument made to carry two bundles of optic fibers inside one long tube. One bundle of optic fiber directs light at the tissue being examined, while the other bundle of optic fiber transmits light reflected from the tissue, producing a detailed image. Endoscopes may be designed to look into specific areas of the human body. For example, physicians can use the optic fibers in the Endoscope to examine knees, shoulders and other joints in the body.
Arthroscopy (pronounced ahr-THROS-kuh-pee) is a technique of using another medical instrument called the Arthroscope. This instrument is straight and cylinder-like with a series of lenses and optic fiber bundles that come in sizes of 1/12 to 1/5 inch (2 to 5 millimeters.) The Arthroscope is used to examine a joint in a body, such as knee joints, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. This is done by the Arthroscope being inserted into a joint of the body through a small incision. A light is then transmitted by the use of the optic fibers to the tip of the Arthroscope to illuminate the joint. The use of optic fiber through the Arthroscope enables a physician to thoroughly examine a joint for diagnosis or treatment.
Optic fibers used in the Arthroscope can be used to measure temperature and other bodily
attributes as well as being used in performing surgical procedures. The problem most commonly treated by Arthroscopy is torn cartilage in the knee. This is when a small incision is made at the joint for use of the optic fiber in the Arthroscope and then a second incision is made for the use of other surgical instruments to remove the cartilage. The primary advantage of using optic fibers through Arthroscopic surgery is that the operation can be performed through a small incision, resulting in the patient experiencing the least amount of discomfort and a healing time that is much shorter, when compared to the other methods of surgery.
Aside from the uses of the Endoscopes and the Arthroscopes, another widely used function of optic fibers in the medical field is the ability for the optical fibers to be inserted into blood vessels to give a quick and accurate analysis of blood chemistry. Physicians have also found medical use of the optical fibers to direct intense laser light at a wound to stop bleeding or to burn away abnormal tissue. Fiber optic training is necessary in the field of medicine. The use of optic fiber through medical science continues to grow rapidly to everyday to develop more new and advanced medical devices to enable physicians to provide people with better service.