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170° O’Connor Operative Arthroscope (Wolf, “lumina”)

Health Sciences · Robert W. Jackson Arthroscopy

A metal instrument incorporating an arthroscope offset from a channel for a surgical tool. The eyepiece is offset by roughly 10cm from the main axis of the instrument by a 90° stem. At the back of the main stem is a rubber-covered port into which a surgical tool can be inserted in such a way that its operation can be observed by the tip of the instrument.

Near where the eyepiece stem meets the main axis of the instrument, there are two ports, one for an irrigation system, the other for a fiber optic light source.

Accession Number: 2020.JAC.15

Alternative Name: O’Connor Operating Arthroscope

Primary Materials: Stainless Steel; Glass


Stamped or engraved on the barrel of the main axis of the instrument: “170°// WOLF// 4857.31”
Engraved on the eyepiece and painted in white lettering: “lumina// Made in Germany”
Engraved or stamped on the rim of the eyepiece: “90957”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 5, Width = 15.5, Length = 28.


An arthroscope is an optical instrument for viewing the interior of a joint during a surgical operation. Its development made possible minimally invasive surgery for many knee operations. It significantly improved diagnoses and healing times for many knee conditions. Specialized arthroscopes may also be used on smaller joints.

The O’Connor Operative Arthroscope was developed to place the operating instrument directly in view of the arthroscope lens. The stem of the arthroscope has a channel for accommodating instruments of 3.5mm in diameter. The instrument requires one incision for the arthroscope and the surgical instruments. Using this instrument, the operator has control of both the arthroscope and the surgical instruments.

The O’Connor Operative Arthroscope in use. (O’Connor and Shahrieree, 1984, 115)


There are very light signs of wear along the surface of this instrument. The rubber seal at back of the main axis (possibly a consumable item) is torn. The black plastic cover to the eyepiece is particularly worn. It appears that part of the text on the eyepiece has been deliberately rubbed away.

Associated Instruments:


Richard Wolf GmbH, Knittlingen, Germany.

Date of Manufacture: Post 1976.


The Robert W. Jackson Arthroscopy Collection was acquired by the University of Toronto from Dr. Jackson’s family on November 12th, 2020.

Additional Information and References:

Richard Wolf GmbH., “History” Richard Wolf GmbH Company Website. Accessed and archived, September 4, 2022.

2) Richard L. O’Connor and Heshmat Shahriaree. O’Connor’s Textbook of Arthroscopic Surgery. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1984.

Historical Notes:

The O’Connor Operative (also called “Operating”) Arthroscope was invented by Dr. Richard L. O’Connor in 1974. His original goal had been to develop a single instrument that could be used for cutting after it had been used to inspect the joint. He settled on a design with a hollow channel into which instruments could be inserted. It was developed in collaboration with the Wolf Manufacturing Company of Germany. The design was in the prototype phase in 1976 and was likely first produced shortly after that. The original instruments had a 3mm channel. This was subsequently enlarged to 3.4mm. [Connor & Shahriaree 1984, 4, 23]
Richard Wolf GmbH was founded in Knittlingen, Germany in 1947. Production of endoscopes began the following year.

Beginning in the 1970s, Wolf launched a number of subsidiaries in Germany and abroad, including Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp. in Vernon Hills, Illinois, USA. [Richard Wolf GmbH., “History”]

  • Donated to UTSIC