Viewing Techniques

Viewing structures or organs in the body is often important for screening, diagnosis, or monitoring disease. Structures that are easily accessible, such as the ears, may be viewed directly using basic viewing instruments; those deeper inside the body are usually viewed indirectly, using complex optical instruments called endoscopes to transmit images on to a monitor screen.

Some viewing techniques may be used as part of a routine examination. For example, your doctor can look at your ears, eyes, and throat simply and quickly in his or her surgery. Each of the instruments used is designed to view a particular part of the body. For example, an otoscope is used to look at the ears and an ophthalmoscope to look at the eyes. The first article covers these basic viewing techniques.

To view other organs deeper within the body, your doctor may arrange for an endoscopic investigation. Endoscopy is discussed in the second article. An endoscope is a viewing device that enables body cavities or internal organs to be inspected. Most endoscopes are flexible or rigid tube-like instruments but there is also a new type (called a wireless capsule endoscope) that essentially consists of a camera in a pill-sized, self-contained capsule. Each type of endoscope is designed to view a particular part of the body.

Inspecting the ear

During a routine checkup, your doctor may use a special viewing device called an otoscope to look inside the ear and examine the ear canal and eardrum.

Basic Viewing Techniques


From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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