An endoscopy is a safe and non-invasive outpatient procedure that checks for gastrointestinal disorders of the throat, esophagus, and duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). The endoscope itself is a long, flexible tube with a probe and a tiny camera at the end of it. 

Endoscopy couldn’t be possible without this probe, which contains several components and medical glass. However, endoscopes can break over time and are relatively expensive to replace, like any equipment. With recent major advances in optics, manufacturers can add sapphire windows to their endoscope probes to have more durability. Read on to learn more about the components of an endoscope, sapphire windows, and the endoscopy procedure itself. 

The Components of an Endoscope Probe

Within the inside of an endoscope probe, you’ll find:

  • An objective lens
  • Two light guides
  • Water nozzle
  • Water jet
  • Air nozzle
  • Instrument channel 

Probes or components within probes can wear over time. Additionally, sometimes the wrong size probe is used for the procedure, which can damage it. Because of the price tag of endoscopes, some choose to have a sapphire window in their probes for longevity. 

Within the endoscope itself, there are also internal channels. This includes the suction valve, air/water valve, water channel, universal cord, water-jet channel, water-jet connector, suction connector, water bottle connector, biopsy valve, air pipe, insertion tube, and the nozzle.

What Is a Sapphire Window?

A sapphire window is a metalized window that allows the optic component to be soldered to metal using a hermetic sealing process. This glass-to-metal sealing and metalizing process allow for more durability. The hermetic glass can withstand chemical and plasma sanitation systems and aggressive autoclaves. Endoscopes can also wear down from the agents used when disinfecting or sanitizing. At IRD Glass, we produce the glass that goes at the end of the probe and sapphire windows. 

What Is Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is a widely used procedure to diagnose many gastrointestinal illnesses. The procedure only takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but patients should plan to spend one to two hours either in an outpatient hospital setting or their gastroenterologist’s office. 

Patients will meet with the anesthesiologist (as anesthesia is used), and will receive an IV in their arm. They are then taken to the room where endoscopy is performed and instructed to lie on their left side. Anesthesia is administered, and the patient is not awake during the procedure. 

The gastroenterologist inserts the probe through the mouth (sometimes a bite block is used to protect the patient), and the camera attached takes pictures of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Having an upper Gi endoscopy is more reliable than an X-ray for diseases such as cancer. Some of the diseases an endoscopy can diagnose are:

  • Polyps (unusual growths in the stomach)
  • Narrowing of the esophagus 
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophagitis
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Objects stuck in the GI tract
  • Gastric cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
  • Ulcers 

During an endoscopy, your gastroenterologist can remove polyps or take tissue samples to help further diagnose GI distress.
IRD Glass has been the leading supplier of customized precision glass, optics, ceramics, and sapphire product fabrication for over 39 years.

To learn more about sapphire windows and our capabilities, speak to a representative today for a quote.