Advances in digital imaging during endoscopic surgery.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Digital imaging capabilities have recently been incorporated into a number of video systems. Contrast enhancement when using a rigid or semirigid endoscope improves image definition by seeking out existing transitions in detail. Only the areas of transition are accentuated, whereas areas without detail are unaffected. During flexible endoscopy, fiberoptic bundles create a classic honeycomb appearance. The use of "fiberscope" filters minimizes this appearance by expanding the image of each fiberoptic fiber. We therefore assessed whether new developments in digital video image processing have improved image quality for endoscopic surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty urologists reviewed a video playback of various endourologic procedures. The type of endoscope was identified, but the urologic surgeon was blinded to the level of enhancement (high or low) or fiberscope filter (A or B) used. Each video clip was scored from 1 to 5 for the following image variables: identification of structure, detail of image, and background noise or interference. All results were averaged and compared using Student's paired t-test. RESULTS: During rigid endoscopy, the high and low digital enhancement settings were both superior to no enhancement (P < 0.001), and high enhancement was better than low (P < 0.001). With semirigid endoscopic procedures, high and low digital enhancement were comparable but were superior to no enhancement (P < 0.001). Filters A and B were no better than no enhancement. There was a significant improvement noted with the use of filter A or B during flexible ureteroscopy over no enhancement (P < 0.001). In addition, filter A was better than filter B (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Digital enhancement settings during video endoscopy significantly improve images from rigid and semirigid endoscopes. The digital fiberscope filter significantly improves images obtained during flexible ureteroscopy. Digital image enhancement capabilities should be strongly considered when upgrading video systems. Digital technology must be further studied to improve clinical video imaging during endoscopic surgery.
Aslan, P; Kuo, RL; Hazel, K; Babayan, RK; Preminger, GM
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