Endoscopists in the nineteenth century used open, rigid tubes to visualize the upper gastrointestinal tract. The characteristics of rigid endoscopies were improved by the addition of conventional lenses that provided magnification and some increase in the viewing angle. When miniaturized for pediatric applications, the narrow viewing angle and the poor light transmission inherent in these devices limited their usefulness. A major advance in the field of endoscopy was the development of the rod-lens telescope, which first became available in 1966. Flexible fiberoptic endoscopes were first developed in 1958. Technical improvements combined with the development of specialized equipment have expanded the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of this technique. Flexible endoscopes for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy are now available in small sizes ideally suited to pediatric applications.
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