Contact endoscopy has interesting potential uses.
It can be used to examine the nose and throat in the outpatient setting without the need for general anaesthesia.
Early changes in disease process can be studied and even diagnosed. It may be possible to diagnosis early infection, allergy or even cancer development. The presence of overactive glands, blood vessels, bacteria or early cancer cells can be detected.
By using special lights, special glows emitted by the cells or bacteria can be detected. Bacteria and even cancer cells may be identified by these florescence, thus allowing early diagnosis.
It may be possible to treat early cancer by first sensitising the diseased cells and exposing them to special light which can destroy these diseased cells.
People who are proned to have recurrent cancer can be examined in the doctor's office without the need to take repeated biopsy.
Contact Endoscopy is currently an investigationl tool. Interesting research is currently in progress to see how useful this method can be in the doctor's office.
Doctors are now able to examine the internal surface of the nose and throat at a magnification of up to 1000 times. The emerging field of video microscopy is attracting the interest of many doctors. The ENT surgeon is particularly interested because much of the head and neck is accessible without the need for general anaesthesia.
The normal examination of the inside of the body, called an endoscopy, by a rigid or flexible endoscope is usually at a magnification of 10-15. The new endoscope enables the naked eye to see details of the inner lining of the head and neck cavities never seen before. With proper staining, detailed characteristics of the cells can be identified. Glands and blood vessels can also be seen.
The technique is actually not new. Gynaecologists have long used this technique to guide them where to take biopsy in the cervix, but it is only in recent years that otolaryngologists have begun to use this method in the ear, nose and throat.