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Rainer Engel, MD, Curator, exhibits the history of urology at the AUA's Centennial.

the observer to look into the human bladder. The drawback of such instruments was their inadequate light source projecting light from the outside through a narrow channel into the bladder. And, without an optical system, the image appeared very small.

It was not until Maximilian Nitze came up with the brilliant idea of creating both a lens system for the shaft of his instrument and an internal light source that these drawbacks were overcome. In his initial instruments, this light source was a white-hot platinum wire that required a laborious and cumbersome cooling system. Even after the mignon bulb had been developed in Rochester, New York, he refused to change his light source for several years. When he eventually agreed to the new technology, the cystoscope was rapidly accepted by surgeons for examinations of the lower urinary tract. Within years, the ramifications of this instrument began to show; one of the first was the insertion of such a cystoscope into the abdomen, heralding the birth of laparoscopy in 1901. Arthroscopy, thoracoscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, gastroscopy and others soon followed with further improvements of these instruments.

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