Review of Techniques to Achieve Optical Surface Cleanliness and Their Potential Application to Surgical Endoscopes

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A clear visualization of the operative field is of critical importance in endoscopic surgery. During surgery the endoscope lens can get fouled by body fluids (eg, blood), ground substance, rinsing fluid, bone dust, or smoke plumes, resulting in visual impairment. As a result, surgeons spend part of the procedure on intermittent cleaning of the endoscope lens. Current cleaning methods that rely on manual wiping or a lens irrigation system are still far from ideal, leading to longer procedure times, dirtying of the surgical site, and reduced visual acuity, potentially reducing patient safety. With the goal of finding a solution to these issues, a literature review was conducted to identify and categorize existing techniques capable of achieving optically clean surfaces, and to show which techniques can potentially be implemented in surgical practice. The review found that the most promising method for achieving surface cleanliness consists of a hybrid solution, namely, that of a hydrophilic or hydrophobic coating on the endoscope lens and the use of the existing lens irrigation system.

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