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SpyGlass System To Provide Better Diagnoses Of Digestive Problems

Armen Hareyan's picture

Diagnoses Of Digestive Problems

Patients can benefit from a new generation of endoscopes that enable physicians to provide an earlier and better diagnosis of diseases involving the bile duct.

Gastroenterologists use endoscopes to diagnose diseases of the digestive system, which include the liver, bile ducts and pancreas.

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Patients are sedated during a procedure known as ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram). A long flexible tube is passed through the mouth and gently moved down the throat through the stomach and into the small intestine to the point where the ducts from the gallbladder, liver and pancreas enter the intestine. Special devices are advanced through the endoscope to enable these small ducts to be x-rayed.

"This new device, known as SpyGlass, is a tremendous advance for our patients," explains David Loren, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. "In the past, we could only evaluate the bile ducts indirectly via x-rays. Now we can enter the ducts with this new, very small scope, and actually see causes of blockage and disease."

"In the past, a patient may have required surgery to make a diagnosis. Now we can obtain tissue biopsies under direct visualization, often preventing the need for major surgery," says Dr. Loren, who is also director of Endoscopic Research in the division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The SpyGlass Direct Visualization System has an optical fiber or visualization probe that is less than one millimeter