Your guide to endoscopes and borescopes

If you’ve ever done an ultrasound before, you probably know that there are several imaging techniques currently used by doctors to tell whether you’re suffering from a medical condition or not. One of them is the good old X-ray, with the help of which you can find out whether you have any issue in your bones, ligaments, and joints, as well as lungs and several other such organs.

One purpose for which an X-ray might prove to be worthless is showing organs that do not have any air content. As you might have guessed, most of these are located in the abdominal and pelvic cavity. However, X-rays do provide detailed info about what’s going on in your gut, for example, mainly when a contrast substance is utilized.

Nowadays, and thanks to the thousands of technological advancements that have happened in the past decades, we also have the convenience of something called endoscopy.

This is the general term that depicts the imaging technique regardless the orifice through which the probe is inserted. In plain talk, a colonoscopy can be done mostly when the probe is inserted in your anus while a gastric endoscopy will involve inserting the probe through your mouth and down your esophagus, respectively.

But what makes the difference between endoscopes and borescopes?

Borescopes aren’t endoscopes

While some endoscopes can be used as borescopes, it doesn’t work the other way around. Why is that? First of all, borescopes are available for purchase to anyone, whether they have a medical degree or not. They should strictly be utilized outside the human or animal body, which is why they are commonly employed in areas like industrial domains, for repairing various types of appliances, or anything else in this sense.

Usually, both an endoscope and a borescope are outfitted with a somewhat flexible or semi-rigid cable at the end of which there’s a camera located. Thanks to that camera, the doctor will be able to look at your digestive system and tell whether there’s any lesion or anything else present.

Another aspect that could make the difference between endoscopes and borescopes is that the first have to be waterproof in order to put up with the abuse created by the human digestive system. By comparison, borescopes can or cannot be waterproof, depending on their capabilities.

Do endoscopes work with iPhones?

To make things clear, all endoscopes available for purchase without the need for a medical degree and other purposes aside from medical use should be called borescopes. In most cases, endoscopes do not work with cell phones, which is why they might not be perfect for iPhone or Android users.

Medical endoscopes have to be connected to the main unit where there’s a screen large enough for the doctor to be able to tell what medical condition the patient might be suffering from. On the other hand, borescopes can come equipped with basic LCD screens or can have WiFi capabilities, which case you can indeed use them with a smartphone or tablet of your choice.


Photo by eivindw