What is an Operating Microscope?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

An operating microscope is a tool that is often used in microsurgery, as it usually is able to magnify and light up the area that is being worked on. It is most often used in ear-nose-throat surgery, dentistry, ophthalmic surgery, and any medical procedure that requires parts to be magnified for accuracy. This tool is usually easy to sterilize to avoid introducing infection into the body, and is typically mounted to a wall or ceiling. Though there are operating microscopes that can be used for any type of surgery, some types are best for certain medical fields.

The typical operating microscope that can be used for microsurgery in general features a prism that can split the beam of light. This permits the doctor to take pictures or videos of the operation while also allowing assistants to monitor the surgery. In most cases, the lens focus is operated by motor so that it is easy to change, especially since a foot control is typically used to switch the focus. This type of microscope usually keeps its binocular head at a fixed angle, which means that the entire assembly typically needs to be tilted in order to change the viewing field. This product is most often used for ophthalmology, orthopedics, and any type of microsurgery.

Another type of operating microscope features pivoting binocular heads, allowing both the main head and the one meant for the assistant to change the level of incline. Each head's angle can be changed independently, with the main head usually boasting higher levels of magnification than the assistant binocular head. Like other types of operating microscopes, this kind features foot controls for changing the focus, but it allows the entire assembly to be easily turned using the foot pedal, as well. It also usually offers the ability to attach a teaching monocular tube so that a third person can view the surgery, such as a student or additional doctor. This kind of instrument is typically used during orthopedics and neurosurgery.

There is one more type of operating microscope that has a few slight differences from the others when it comes to features. This kind is used mostly for hand surgery and plastic surgery is known for being easy to center over the viewing field. This, combined with zoom magnifications and motorized focusing, makes it possible for doctors to accurately connect veins, blood vessels, and other structures during surgery. This kind of operating microscope also usually allows an extra monocular tube to be attached so that additional doctors or students can watch surgery, though it typically already features two binocular heads, to begin with.

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