Early History of Endoscopic Technology and Endoscopic Ear Surgery

By June 7, 2019

Cheng, Yew Song 1; Kozin, Elliott2; Remenschneider, Aaron2; Lee, Daniel J2;Jethanamest, Daniel1
1 Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, New York University, New York, NY;
2 Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston, MA.

The invention and clinical application of the endoscope is a pivotal event in the modern history of surgery, heralding a wave of previously impossible procedures. As otolaryngologists, we have witnessed endoscopic technology revolutionize laryngology and rhinology, but contemporary otologic surgical procedures have continued to be defined by the use of the binocular operative microscope.Here, we investigateearly uses of endoscopes in ear surgery, focusing on key developments that contributed to clinical application of endoscopic technology in otology.

Data Source: Pubmed, Embase, Google search engines.
Study Selection: Keywords were used to identify English-language articles and abstracts related to development of rigid endoscope technology and its application in otologic surgery.

Data extraction and synthesis: Non-quantitively review of historical events.
Conclusions: Endoscopic Ear Surgery (EES) developed in incremental advances in technology and clinical applications. Driven by academic curiosity and the clinical need to examine hidden anatomical structures of the head and neck, many early otolaryngologists were both skilled operators of endoscopes and innovators. Drawn to the unique view of the ear seen through endoscopes, early applications were directed towards educational purposes, which paved the way to clinical use. The early history of EES paints a colorful picture of counterculture ideas and events that have eventually led to the popular use of endoscopes in the ear. In contrast to laryngology and rhinology, the application of endoscopes in the ear is limited, but it now seems inevitably poised to change the perspective of the next generation of otologic surgeons.