Company Profile

(PresseBox) (Tuttlingen, ) Modern endoscopy has revolutionized medical diagnostics and surgical techniques. The name KARL STORZ has been closely linked with these developments. The KARL STORZ company was established by Dr. med. h. c. Karl Storz in 1945 as a manufacturer of endoscopes, endoscopic instruments and units. During these more than 65 years of resounding market presence, the company has evolved into a manufacturer known and appreciated worldwide for its quality and product innovations. From its headquarters in Tuttlingen (Germany), KARL STORZ has developed from a two-man business into a globally operating company. Today it employs more than 5,300 people worldwide, with more than 2,200 people alone working at the company's headquarters and production facility in Tuttlingen. Seven other production sites (in Europe and the USA) and 42 sales and marketing subsidiaries are located worldwide.

Looking back: Innovative from the start

The corporate history of the family-owned KARL STORZ is an impressive example of how the company has succeeded over six decades to understand and identify the needs and requirements of customers and market trends and to implement these in terms of products and services by achieving technology leadership and by offering a comprehensive and adaptable range of endoscopic systems.

Taking a retrospective look at endoscopy, the method initially evolved from the fields of ear, nose and throat, bronchoscopy, urology and gynecology, eventually encompassing other specialties, in particular laparoscopy. Over the decades, endoscopy has been increasingly used in medical therapy. The term "minimally invasive surgery" was coined at the end of the eighties. This method is now widely used in many applications and various medical disciplines.

The early and promising focus on endoscopy by KARL STORZ began at a time when endoscopy was still at a very early stage of development. As early as 1953, Dr. med. h. c. Karl Storz designed and built his first endoscope, at that time still with the conventional optical system, and thus marked the beginning of endoscopy in his small business.

Working closely in intensive technical dialogue with leading physicians, the following decades saw the company inventing and developing products which decisively shaped and allowed the use of endoscopy in diagnosis and therapy to the extent we know today.

The early and pioneering inventions by Dr. Karl Storz - for instance, the extracorporeal electronic flash in 1956 and the cold light source in 1960 - set new and long-term standards for enhanced illumination and the resulting options of improved documentation. 1965 was the first year Dr. Karl Storz collaborated with the physicist Prof. Dr. Harold H. Hopkins. With the launch of the patented HOPKINS® rod-lens system, KARL STORZ was able to offer endoscopes in superior image quality and with brilliance, depth of focus, excellent resolution and true color rendition.

As early as 1966 KARL STORZ became active in the field of urology. In 1970, the company presented its ultrasound lithotripter, which allowed efficient and gentle stone fragmentation in the urinary system. In 1982, the automatically controlled high frequency electrosurgical unit AUTOCON® marked a breakthrough in transurethral resection, lowering the patient's current exposure by about 50%.

Designing the future is a tradition at KARL STORZ

After the death of Dr. med. h. c. Karl Storz in 1996 Dr. h. c. mult. Sybill Storz took over the management as chief executive of the KARL STORZ group. Since then Dr. Sybill Storz proceeds the leadership in Research & Development and continues a successfully marketing strategy throughout the world. Since 1996 over 100 new patents could be registered and global turnover increased approximately by 15 - 20% each year.

The management of the family business has already been secured for the future. Karl-Christian Storz, Dr. Sybill Storz's son, has been responsible for various departments since 1996 and has been a member of management since 2005. What began in the fifties and sixties as new techniques for improving illumination and documentation as well as creating previously unseen image quality, was pursued consistently in the 21st century.

Current product innovations include, for instance, the first fully digital camera platform IMAGE1(TM) (2002), the TRICAM® 3D imaging system (2003), bipolar resectoscopes for gynecology and urology (2004) and the transurethral operation simulator (2004).

Another key area of current development work is the complete OR solution OR1(TM) , a unique concept for the integration of various techniques in the operating room. At the heart of the OR1(TM) concept is the direct central control of all surgical and peripheral devices via touch screen or speech control from within the sterile area. In this way, operating procedures are accelerated both before, during and after the intervention, and the risk of incorrect operation is reduced. An integrated digital recording system makes it easier to archive image, video and audio data from important operative procedures and results, both for patient documentation and scientific evaluations. Connection to the HIS (Hospital Information System) and PACS (Picture Archiving & Communication System) optimizes swift access to patient and image data.

The most recent invention is the IMAGE1(TM) HD (= High Definition) camera platform (2006). HD technology, known from the consumer product sector, also promises to be a qualitative breakthrough in endoscopic video documentation. It was for this reason that KARL STORZ developed a new video platform which allows the optimum use of HD technology: the new HD platform IMAGE1(TM) hub. This offers the user ultimate image quality for the ultra-precise rendition even of the finest tissue and vascular structures with the highest physical image resolution specified for HD of 1920 x 1080p pixels, equal to five times the image information available from today's PAL standard.

Prospects for the future

The development of minimally invasive surgery is linked inextricably with the name KARL STORZ. Today, the product portfolio contains over 8,000 products for 22 medical disciplines. Nevertheless, the family-run business does not rest on its laurels, but is always on the lookout for innovative improvement and solution options. Their motivation can be described with a quote from Hippocrates: "Healing is a question of time, sometimes also a question of opportunities." Dr. Sybill Storz, Managing Parter and daughter of Karl Storz, thinks that the potential for minimally invasive surgery has still not been exhausted by a long way. "Operating techniques that place less strain on the patient will continue to develop and give rise to new methods and areas of application." With entrepreneurial foresight, a good instinct for future trends, highly specialised employees and innovative ideas, KARL STORZ plans to continue to develop products into the future which will make new treatment options possible and make endoscopy even less invasive and also safer.


Karl Storz GmbH & Co.KG
Dr. Karl-Storz-Straße 34
D-78532 Tuttlingen
Zorica Injac
Marketing Manager
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