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Fibre Optics pp 218-234 | Cite as

Fibre Optics in Medicine

  • W. B. Allan
Part of the Optical Physics and Engineering book series (OPEG)

Abstract

Historically, the medical field was the first to exploit the advantages offered by the use of optical fibres. In fact, the use of internal reflection as a means of guiding light was employed in the late 1930’s to provide illumination for simple medical inspection instruments. In these instruments, the light from a filament bulb was guided to the inspection area by internal reflection along a polished plastic probe. The dielectric interface was formed between the plastic and air, as illustrated in Fig. 1. The plastic used was methyl methacrylate and the probe could be shaped to ease entry, or to perform some other function, e.g. retraction; some typical shapes are illustrated in Fig. 2. This form of illumination is still used in a variety of medical instruments but, since the reflecting interface is the probe surface, the efficiency is adversely affected by scratches and liquid films on this surface. Because of this, the probe is kept relatively short and with a large cross-section, so that the number of reflections is small. This restricts the range of instruments to those which do not require a large penetration and enter a relatively large cavity, and are normally used for oral or anal inspection. The main impetus for the use of fibre optics in medical instruments came from considerations of patient safety and comfort.

Keywords

Fibre Optic Light Guide Coherent Bundle Input Face Medical Instrumentation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Company Ltd 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. B. Allan
    • 1
  1. 1.Ministry of DefenceSevenoaks, KentUK

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