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170° O’Connor Operative Arthroscope (Wolf)

Health Sciences · Robert W. Jackson Arthroscopy

A metal optical instrument with a thin, cylindrical stem. Unlike similar instruments, the eyepiece is offset on a parallel stem. There is a port through which instruments can be inserted where the eyepiece would typically be located. A second port with a knurled valve (presumably for irrigating the joint) protrudes at right angles from the main stem. A port for a fiber optic light source also protrudes at right angles from the stem.

Four bands of tape, two red, two yellow, are wrapped around the stem leading to the offset eyepiece.

Accession Number: 2020.JAC.3

Alternative Name: O’Connor Operating Arthroscope

Primary Materials: Stainless Steel; Glass.


Stamped an the main stem, adjacent to the fiber optic port: “170° Wolf 4857.31”
Printed in white lettering on the eyepiece: “LUMINA// MADE IN GERMANY”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 16, Width = 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 is no significant damage to this artifact beyond very light abrasions.

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:

1) 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