The Use of LEDs Inside Modern Medical Devices
The entire medical industry keeps changing, with new technology constantly being developed. Brand new products and technologies always enter the market. They replaced inefficient or outdated equipment. This is exactly the case with LEDs, which range from really simple lights to advanced biomedical LED illuminators.
LEDs are nowadays preferred due to the several advantages they have, like less heat, lower energy consumption, dynamic control, lower costs, and longer life. What many do not know is that in the past few years, LED technology significantly improved. It is not integrated into several medical devices like exam lights, endoscopy devices, phototherapy devices, and surgical lighting.
Initially, LEDs were very simple on-off device indicators. But, in the past 30 years, we did end up seeing a dramatic performance increase combined with cost reductions. This led to the current reality in which LED technology is fully viable even for very demanding medical applications that are lighting-based.
The first wide adoption of LEDs came in the minor surgery lights and exam room lighting, usually with the use of 50 W to 100 W lamp halogen technology. LEDs were preferred because they presented less heat and longer life. The major surgical overhead lighting went through a large performance transformation due to the adoption of LED technology. The previously used deep reflector bowl was replaced with many direct view LEDs, all while having a thinner profile. Thanks to the multiple light sources offered by LEDs, shadowing was prevented. And due to the lower heat of the beam, the working environment became much more enjoyable for the entire surgical team. Also, several innovations, like voice-controlled light changes, offered extra control and flexibility that could not have been neglected.
Another example of LED technology used in modern medicine can be noticed in endoscopy. When performing minimally invasive surgery, the doctor used a high-intensity discharge lamp. The common choice is xenon due to the fact that very bright light is necessary. Traditionally, the choice was a xenon lamp of 180 to 300 W. The problem is that although endoscopy technical requirements are met, the life span of the xenon light is just 1,000, with a pretty large price tag attached.
The recent work done by Luminus Devices brought forth a new high-performance LED lights line that are capable of replacing xenon technology. The LEDs created are capable of generating the necessary lumen density and can deliver the needed light in the standard 5 millimeters diameter that is now used in most endoscopic procedures.
Since we are talking about the new technology used in medical illumination, the technology is naturally judged based on its performance when compared with incumbent technologies. Medical devices naturally use the very best light source available in terms of performance. As a result, LEDs keep getting more and more exposure in the industry. We keep seeing improvements in the light intensity available, in the weight and size of the LEDs, and in long-term reliability. Even heat-temperature management is way better than it used to be. In the future, increased technology adoption is expected.