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Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390

Vol.27 - Nº 3 - Set. 2011

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Illumination of the surgical field in general surgery

Rev Med Urug 2011; 27: 175-186
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract


Towards 1880, surgery conquered the deepest areas in the human body, and thus the problem of illuminating them well arose. Operating rooms were placed in spots where they would receive more sunlight, windows and skylights were built and sources of artificial light were installed ? although none of this was a solution.

In 1919, Louis Verain designed an electric lamp that projected a beam of homogeneous light, intense and with attenuated shadows named scialitic lamp. It was the paradigm of surgery illumination for sixty years and it influenced changes in hospital design.

In spite of the fact that in 1806 Bozzini started performing endoscopy under candle light, in 1875 Nitze had designed a self-illuminated cytoscope and in 1910 internists and gastroenterologists introduced endocopes in the serous cavities for diagnostic purposes, it was not until the 1960s that Kart Semm became interested in these technological progress to apply them to gynecology. He added therapeutic uses to them and in 1980 they spread out to be used in most surgeries, what resulted in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Today it uses instruments that comprise modern illumination technology (external cold light sources and fibre optic beams conducting light) and sources of indirect sight (rod lenses associated to video micro-cameras with charge-coupled devices or CCD) that enable illumination and visualization of the surgical field a lot more clearly than with the classic laparotomies.