A Brief History of Endoscopy

Endoscopy refers to a nonsurgical procedure of examining a person's digestive tract. A medical professional can view pictures of a patient's digestive tract on a color TV monitor using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light, and a camera attached.

Endoscopies are minimally invasive as they involve the body's openings, like the mouth and the anus, and they can also be inserted into small incisions in the knee or abdomen. On the other hand, surgery completed through a small incision assisted with instruments such as the endoscope is called keyhole surgery.

An endoscopy certificate course is crucial since it ensures safety in verifying proper equipment cleaning, decontamination, disinfection, and calibration of endoscopic instruments according to standards. Read on and discover more about the long history of endoscopy as we tackle it further in this article.

Early Developments of Endoscopic-like Instruments

Instruments like the concept of endoscope began to be used in medicine as early as the ancient Greek and Roman periods. A medical instrument considered a prototype of an endoscope was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii.

However, Philip Bozzini first attempted to observe the living human body directly. Bozzini developed a tube known as a Lichtleiter or light guiding instrument in 1805, four years before his death from typhoid. Considered the first successful endoscope, Bozzini used this instrument to examine the urinary tract, rectum, and pharynx.

The endoscope did not gain popularity until 1822 when William Beaumont used the equipment on a human body. In Boston, United States, John Fisher described a similar instrument that used candlelight, a tubular speculum, and a system of mirrors in 1827.

Meanwhile, in 1853, Antoine Jean Desormeaux of France developed an instrument to examine the body's urinary tract and the bladder. Desormeaux named the instrument endoscope the first time the term was used in history.

The use of electric light was considered a significant turning point in using the endoscope in procedures, which was initially available only for external use. Electric light was soon developed for internal use, such as Charles David's invention of the hysteroscope and experiments conducted by Hans Christian Jacobaeus.

Dr. Adolph Kussmaul succeeded in taking a look inside the stomach of a living human body for the first time in 1868. The attempt was successful after a series of trials on a sword-swallower that could gulp down a straight, 47-centimeter-long metal tube 13 millimeters in diameter.

Ten years later, doctors Max Nitze and Josef Liter invented the cystourethroscope. Meanwhile, in 1881, Johann von Mikulicz and his associates developed the first gastroscope that could be used in conducting practical applications.

Dr. Rudolph Schindler and Endoscopy in the United States

In 1932, Dr. Rudolph Schindler developed a flexible gastroscope, a modified version of earlier inventions. The flexible gastroscope allowed stomach examinations even while the tube was bent. The tube was about 75 centimeters in length and 11 millimeters in diameter. About a third of the entire length of the flexible gastroscope toward its tip could be bent to a certain degree. Schindler examined the insides of a stomach using numerous lenses positioned through the tube with a miniature light bulb.

Schindler's lifelong contribution to developing endoscopes and imaginative technical talent was combined with significant clinical contributions. This contribution includes a book entitled Lehrbuch und Atlas der Gastroskopie, which he wrote in Munich.

Subsequently, Schindler moved to Chicago in 1934 and continued to make his mark in gastroenterology and endoscopy in the United States and the world. Schindler was a founding member of the American Gastroscopic Club.

Harold Horace Hopkins and Fiber Optics

Harold Horace Hopkins is a renowned British physicist whose "wave theory of aberrations" led to changes in optic design and medical optics. The wave theory of aberrations provides mathematical analysis modern computers use to create high-quality lenses.

Hopkins' notable inventions include zoom lenses, coherent fiber optics, and the rod-lens endoscope. This rod-lens endoscope paved the way for the procedure we know today as keyhole surgery, a technique that has helped millions of people worldwide.

Hopkins received numerous prestigious accolades and awards for his work. He has also been nominated twice for a Nobel Prize. In 2009, his son Kelvin Hopkins threw the Hopkins building to the public to bring biomedical and pharmaceutical research together under one roof. Today, Hopkins signifies the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

Endoscopy Procedure


The procedure may depend on the reason for the endoscopy. Typically, there are three main reasons for carrying out an endoscopic medical procedure:

  • Investigation: If a patient is experiencing vomiting, abdominal pain, breathing problems, stomach ulcers, difficulty swallowing, or gastrointestinal bleeding, an endoscope can be used to look for the cause of the symptoms.

  • Confirmation of a diagnosis: An endoscopy can be used in conducting a biopsy to confirm a cancer diagnosis or other diseases or illnesses.

  • Treatment: An endoscope can be used to treat an illness directly. For example, endoscopy can be used in cauterizing or sealing using heat, a bleeding vessel or removing a polyp.

In some situations, an endoscopy can be combined with another procedure, such as an ultrasound scan. Endoscopy can help place the ultrasound probe close to internal organs that can be difficult to see in an image, such as the pancreas.

Endoscopy is typically conducted while the patient is conscious. However, there are also instances when the person will receive a local anesthetic. Commonly, the local anesthetic used is an anesthetic spray to the back of the throat.

For endoscopy procedures that involve entry through the mouth, a mouth guard is used to protect the teeth and lips as the tube is inserted.


Learning about endoscopy technician certification online involves investigating deeper into endoscopic procedures and their history, usually minimally invasive medical procedures. Medical professionals may use endoscopic procedures to investigate, diagnose, or treat gastrointestinal conditions.

Endoscopic procedures have low complication rates. A patient is typically discharged within a few hours after an endoscopic procedure. However, some side effects may occur after an endoscopy, such as a sore throat or bloating, which are typically resolved quickly.

For more details about the endoscopy certificate course and sterile processing technician or SPT training, visit Martinson College at

Read More: Endoscopy Technician: Everything You Need to Know