Getting a better view with lighted surgical instruments

Having a good view is extremely important during surgery. That’s why many surgical instruments now come with built-in illumination. This light helps clinicians see deep into the body cavity even when small incisions are used. Light guides made from bundles of SCHOTT PURAVIS® glass optical fibers are a critical component for lighted retractors and yankauers, enabling these instruments to deliver bright light with virtually true-to-life color.

Having a good view is extremely important during surgery. That’s why many surgical instruments now come with built-in illumination. This light helps clinicians see deep into the body cavity even when small incisions are used. Light guides made from bundles of SCHOTT PURAVIS® glass optical fibers are a critical component for lighted retractors and yankauers, enabling these instruments to deliver bright light with virtually true-to-life color.

High quality light delivery

Getting the best illumination from surgical instruments requires the right light delivery method. Battery-operated LEDs placed directly onto a retractor or yankauer are one option. However, a fiber optic light guide that delivers light from a remote source to the instrument is often the better choice.

Whether the light is coming from a xenon bulb, LED module or other light source, fiber optic guides can provide high-performance light delivery. This setup allows the white light to be specifically tuned to provide the best visualization for the task at hand. Fiber optic light guides also keep the light source and its heat away from the patient. LEDs, on the other hand, require thermal management to prevent unwanted heat from entering the body cavity.

Compared to other types of optical fibers, PURAVIS® glass fibers can couple more light from the source into the guide because of their wide acceptance angles of up to 120°. As light travels down the light guide, the glass fibers maintain a high transmission with minimal color shift. The result is bright illumination with a realistic color that can reveal even subtle tissue differences.

Light guide components are resistant to temperatures up to 350 °C, which means that the light guides can easily withstand autoclaving sterilization, allowing for longer product lifetimes. The small diameter of glass fibers also allows complex geometries to be created with small fiber bundles, thus controlling specialized lighting patterns for optimal illumination. It is even possible to design fiber bundles that are disposable for single-use applications.

Transmitting bright white light over long distances is essential for many robotic surgery applications – no problem for SCHOTT PURAVIS® glass optical fibers. Photo: SCHOTT
SCHOTT® PURAVIS fibers are extremely flexible and transmit very bright light. Photo: SCHOTT.

A dependable lighting partner

Whether adding illumination to an old design or creating a completely new surgical instrument, SCHOTT can help. With more than 130 years of experience and exclusive access to raw materials and proprietary glasses, we can design and make customized light guides with light-delivery properties unavailable anywhere else. For example, by use of custom end termination, we offer multiple methods to protect and attach fibers to the surgical instrument, allowing for additional flexibility in the design phase. In addition to epoxied end termination, hot-fused end termination is available to accommodate high energy-output requirements.

Partnering with SCHOTT early in the design process allows us to work together to overcome technical challenges and meet specific needs. We can provide off-the-shelf subassemblies and have extensive experience in developing customized light delivery solutions for a wide variety of medical devices and surgical instruments. Thanks to our experience in optical simulation, we understand the full optical system and can design the best light guide for a specific application, enabling high-performing end-products.

During these uncertain times, it is even more important to work with partners that can minimize supply manufacturing sites at locations around the world or manufacturing interruptions. As a large, global company, we eliminate this risk by providing technical development teams and independent manufacturing sites at locations around the world. If a critical need arises, we can leverage our high-volume manufacturing experience to quickly ramp up production.

From early-stage development to application engineering and manufacturing, SCHOTT works with OEMs, start-ups, design houses and contract manufacturers and can use its long history of experience with light delivery to meet your illumination needs.

March 3, 2021

Contact

Tony Cappabianca
Lighting and Imaging
SCHOTT North America, Inc.

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