endoscope, any instrument used to look inside the body. Usually consisting of a fiber-optic tube attached to a viewing device, endoscopes are used to explore and biopsy such areas as the colon and the bronchi of the lungs. Endoscopes employing miniature television cameras and tiny surgical implements now allow exploration and endoscopic surgery through small incisions; such surgery is much less traumatic to the patient than traditional open surgery. Laparoscopic surgery, in which the endoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen or chest, is used to correct abnormalities of the ovaries and as an alternative to traditional gall bladder and chest surgery. Arthroscopic surgery is endoscopic surgery performed on joints such as the knee or shoulder.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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