Endoscope Camera: Medical Imaging Camera Quality

Endoscope Camera: Medical Imaging Camera Quality

20 Dec 20215 min readMike Anderson
Medical imaging camera looking at United States currency Medical imaging camera looking at United States currency

In this guide on medical imaging camera quality, you will discover how to differentiate a few of the limitations with the sensors that are available to the various camera applications.


Endoscopic Camera – the endoscope camera is the component that captures an image.

Endoscopic Imaging – the process by which a signal from a camera or ultrasonic device is transformed and displayed on a screen in a visually understandable format.

Endoscope Camera Sensors and Baseball

In baseball, each player is assigned a number, one through nine, attributed to their position on the field that can be used strategically to their advantage.

As an example, picture this:

There is a runner on first base and the ball is hit toward the second baseman (4), who then throws the ball to the shortstop (6), the shortstop touches second base and then throws the ball to the first baseman (3). As a result, a double play is achieved.

If you do not follow baseball, 4 + 6 + 3 is equivalent to a double play; similarly, you may ask yourself what 400×400 equates to concerning camera optics for your endoscopic device.

(400×400 is an industry standard for image resolution)

Within a 400×400 camera sensor, attributes such as a pixel size of 1.75 μm x 1.75 μm and an image area of 714 μm x 714 μm are specifications that must be evaluated in determining the requirements of your minimally invasive endoscopic camera-based device.

Gaining Perspective: The Endoscopic Camera & Endoscopic Imaging Industry

Up until recently, endoscopic medical imaging camera devices were primarily reusable, sterilizable devices. For years, the same device would be used for thousands of procedures.

Endoscopic imaging devices are now being developed to make them disposable camera-based medical devices.

Now the question arises for you, which resolution should I incorporate into my device?

For the average person, being told that a sensor or camera is 400×400 or 1080p tells us very little about the quality of an image. If your home is one of the “121 million … homes in the United States,” that has a television, you have more than likely heard the term 1080p, but may not have heard of 400×400.

The challenge is to transition our perspective of understanding television image resolution to what a doctor needs to see when they are performing a procedure.

Which Imaging Camera Sensor Do You Use?

Before determining the image quality, you need to start with the physical limitations your device will have.

If you want to incorporate a straddle mount style / Chip-On-Tip® camera sensor at the distal end of your flexible endoscope that is 3mm OD, you are not going to be able to achieve 1080p resolution. 1080p sensors carry with them certain size requirements due to the construction of the sensor.

When your size limitations are small, such as 3mm, will a 400×400 or 200×200 resolution provide the doctor with an image that would enable procedural success?

A high-quality camera assembly such as PREVOYANCE®, provides medical device development engineers an off-the-shelf, plug-and-play camera assembly designed exclusively for medical applications. Pull it out of the box, plug it in, and begin building the next-generation camera-based device that can be built into a developmental, production, or procedural quality medical device to determine if the image meets the voice of the customer.

Can Your Disposable Medical Camera Produce 1080p Imaging Quality?

For many minimally invasive procedures, the market is looking for a mitigated impact on the anatomy. A device that has minimal interaction within the anatomy of a patient that benefits from smaller points of access.

In addition, many endoscopic procedures suggest the use of trocars ranging from 5mm to 12mm. Trocars are devices that act as a portal to drain fluid and/or for the use of additional medical devices during endoscopic surgery. You will need to keep this in mind while you develop your endoscope.

As stated in the AST Guidelines for Best Practices on the Perioperative Role and Duties of the Surgical Technologist During Robotic Surgical Procedures, Guideline VI suggests, “…two 12 mm sharp trocars with sheaths; and three 5 or 8 mm sharp or blunt (surgeon’s preference) trocars with sheaths.”

When space allows and the voice of the customer requires high-definition image quality, disposable single-use scopes can now be produced economically to enable the transition from reusable to disposable without compromising image quality.

By recognizing the procedural requirements and limitations, you will be able to initiate specification discussions and identify your direction.

Knowing the product offerings and their associated limitations will put you in a better position to succeed.


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