Since the dawn of modern medicine, doctors have pursed the use of technology to help them see into the human body.
A variety of means serve just this purpose: X-rays, CT scans, optical fibers and more, but the greatest breakthrough in the field can be attributed to a unique technology developed by the Israeli company ScoutCam/ Lior Eilam
The Israeli company ScoutCam developed the smallest camera in the world, at 1.2 mm diameter, which can be employed in medical procedures, in particular endoscopic diagnoses and treatments. The micro-camera’s miniscule diameter allows doctors to see into tiny organs and systems which were previously inaccessible.
The CEO at the time, Dr. Elazar Sonnenschein, explained that the only alternative are optical fibers which let doctors film video footage inside the human body although their numerous disadvantages limit their use: “Optical fibers are breakable and therefore can’t access many spots. They’re also very expensive – the smaller the diameter the higher the price,” Sonnenschein explains.
The ScoutCam camera is used in flexible devices that offer a glance into places in the body that the optical fiber cannot access. In addition, it costs roughly 90% less that optical fibers of the same diameter.
The low cost allows for significant savings in the component parts of the systems they comprise, and even allow the device to be disposable. Single-use cameras bypass expensive sterilization processes, thus also avoiding the risk of dangerous contamination and infection as well as cutting down on excess cost.
Efficiency and Safety
Many of us are forced to undergo invasive surgery at some point in our lives, followed by a recuperation period proportional to the seriousness of the procedure.
Older patients are more likely to undergo invasive medical procedures, and their recovery process is longer. The camera, which is affixed to special devices, is minimally invasive and eliminates the arduous recovery process from surgery.
The ScoutCam micro-devices can also efficiently diagnose gall stones, which are currently diagnosed with X-rays or expensive and fragile optical fibers. ScoutCam’ micro-camera spares the damages of X-ray radiation as well as the costliness of optical fibers.
The ScoutCam camera has enabled doctors, for the first time in history, a noninvasive glance into the heart, brain and other areas. Dr. Sonnenschein estimated that within 5-10 years, the technology will be used in dozens of procedures including vascular treatments, from inserting stents to replacing valves.
According to Dr. Sonnenschein, the camera technology could be utilized to effectively substitute invasive procedures carried out in hospitals, especially in the fields of orthopedics and ear-nose-throat medicine with less invasive procedures carried out at private clinics and outpatient clinics, offering a more efficient and cost effective option.