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United States Patent D9]
 Inventor: Susumu Ohshiro, Iwatsuki, Japan
 Assignee: Fuji Photo Optical Co. Ltd., Omiya, Japan
 Appl. No.: 595,425
 Filed: July 14, 1975
 Foreign Application Priority Data
July 18, 1974 Japan 49-81739
July 18, 1974 Japan 49-81740
July 18, 1974 Japan 49-81741
 Int. CU A61B1/06
 U.S. CI 128/6; 128/2 M;
128/349 B; 128/DIG. 9
 Field of Search 128/4, 6, 7. 8, 11,
128/349 B, 349 BV, 350, 351, 2 M, 244, 344, DIG. 9, DIG. 25
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,417,745 12/1968 Sheldon 128/6
3,913,565 10/1975 Kawahara 128/351
[ii] 4,040,413  Aug. 9, 1977
502,331 3/1939 United Kingdom 128/8
Primary Examiner—Robert W. Michell
Assistant Examiner—Henry S. Layton
One or more inflatable balloons are provided on the outer surface of the tube of an endoscope which encloses the fiber optical light transmitting bundle. When only one balloon is provided, the balloon is provided on one side of the tube near the end thereof to enlarge the space within a body cavity in one direction and the flexible part of the tube may be bent in said direction. When moe than one balloon is provided, one of the balloons is selectively inflated to enlarge the space within the body cavity in the desired direction. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the balloons are located at equal intervals around the tube. In another embodiment of the invention, an outer sleeve is provided around the tube with balloons on the outer face thereof and is made slidable with respect to the tube. The outer sleeve and the tube are inserted into the body cavity alternately by alternately inflating the balloons on the outer sleeve and those on the tube to facilitate the insertion thereof into the body cavity.
6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
U.S. Patent Aug. 9,1977 Sheet 1 of 2 4,040,413
U.S. Patent Aug. 9, 1977 Sheet 2 of 2 4,040,413
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention 5 This invention relates to an endoscope, and more
particularly to an endoscope employing a flexible fiber optical light transmitting bundle designed for insertion into inaccessible places, such as the human stomach, intestines etc. for visual examination of these organs. 10
2. Description of the Prior Art
It has been known in the art to use a flexible fiber optical light transmitting bundle for an endoscope for insertion into inaccessible body cavities. Further, it has also been known to provide an annular balloon around 15 the endoscope some distance back from the rounded tip to stably fix the end of the endoscope within the body cavities and enlarge the field of view of the endoscope.
In the conventional endoscope, however, since the balloon is annular in shape and the flexible part of a light 20 transmitting tube is located at the center of the inflated annular balloon, the angle through which the flexible part of the endoscope can be bent is materially limited and the range of the field of view is also limited to half of the enlarged space within the body cavity. 25
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In view of the above described defects inherent in the conventional endoscope, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide an endoscope the flexible 30 part of which can be bent through a greater angle in comparison with the conventional endoscope by taking advantage of the whole of the enlarged space within the body cavity.
Another object of the present invention is to provide 35 an endoscope the field of view of which is considerably large in comparison with the conventional endoscopes.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an endoscope which can be easily inserted into the intestines, the duodenum and other body cavities. 40
A still further object of the present invention is to provide an endoscope which can be inserted deeply into body cavities and which has a field of view which is markedly enlarged so as to enable the observer to see even the orifices of the biliary duct and the pancreatic 45 duct in the duodenum.
The above objects and other objects are accomplished by providing a balloon on one side of the light transmitting tube some distance back from the rounded tip of the endoscope. The number of balloons need not 50 be limited to one but may be as many as three or four. Preferably, three or four balloons are provided around the light transmitting tube and one of the balloons is selectively inflated so that the light transmitting tube within the body cavity need not be rotated in search of 55 the place to be observed. By inflating the balloon on one side of the tube, the flexible part of the endoscope can be bent all the way across the enlarged space within the body cavity and the range of the field of view is markedly enlarged. Thus, it becomes possible to observe 60 even the biliary duct and pancreatic duct, which are very difficult to see with conventional endoscopes. Further, since the field of view is markedly enlarged by the endoscope of this invention, the endoscope can be advanced in the body cavities to observe various parts 65 thereof with fewer stops and starts.
In accordance with another preferred embodiment of this invention, the intermediate body of the endoscope
is composed of an inner sleeve including a light transmitting optical fiber bundle and an outer sleeve, said inner sleeve being slidable in said outer sleeve in the longitudinal direction. Both the inner and outer sleeves are provided with balloons therearound and the balloons of the inner sleeve and those of the outer sleeve are inflated and deflated alternately when the endoscope is inserted into the body cavity to facilitate the insertion of the endoscope into the body cavity.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a partly sectional longitudinal view showing the end part of the endoscope in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view taken along the line II—II of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side view showing the end part of the endoscope in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention used for examining internal body organs such as the biliary duct and pancreatic duct,
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal view partly in section of the endoscope in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention showing how the endoscope is used to examine a body cavity, and
FIGS. 5 and 6 are longitudinal views partly in section of the endoscope in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention showing how the endoscope is inserted into a body cavity.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
A first preferred embodiment of this invention is shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, in which only the image taking end part of the endoscope is illustrated. Referring to FIG. 1, a light transmitting tube 1 includes a fiber optical light transmitting bundle 10 extending therethrough. The light transmitting tube 1 is composed of a soft rigid sleeve 11 extending from the operating casing to be located outside the human body (not shown), a flexible sleeve 12 connected with the soft rigid sleeve 11 and a transparent head 13 connected with the flexible sleeve 12 and having a smoothly rounded tip 13a as well known in the art. In the transparent head 13, a rotatable mirror 14 is mounted to the backside of the rounded tip 13a within the head 13a and a focusing lens 15 is located in front of the mirror 14. The fiber optical light transmitting bundle 10 extends through the soft rigid sleeve 11 and the flexible sleeve 12, and the image receiving end face 10a of the bundle 10 faces the focusing lens 15 so that the image of the internal face of the body cavity may be focused thereon. Illuminating lamps 16 are provided in the head 13 adjacent the end face 10a of the light transmitting bundle 10 to illuminate the internal face of a body cavity such as the stomach, the duodenum or the intestines. The light from the illuminating lamps 16 transmits through the transparent wall 13b of the transparent head 13 to illuminate the body cavities. As is well known in the art, wires for remote-controlling the rotatable mirror 14 and lead wires for supplying electricity to the lamps 16 are provided within the tube 1. These are omitted in FIG. 1 for simplification. Further, as is well known in the art, there are provided remote control wires in the tube 1 for bending the flexible sleeve 12 and these are also omitted in the drawing. Around the soft rigid sleeve 11 some distance back from the head 13, are provided three inflatable rubber balloons 17a, lib and 17c at equal intervals of 120° as