Spyglass

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center was the first facility in Wisconsin and one of the first centers in the United States to provide endoscopic suturing.

Spyglass lets your doctor see your entire biliary duct system – including difficult-to-reach tiny ducts in your pancreas – with a fiber-optic probe.

The Spyglass is a state-of-the-art add-on to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Standard ERCP produces only two-dimensional black and white pictures. Spyglass produces precise color images that improve what your doctor can diagnose and treat in a single procedure.

If your doctor needs to take a tissue sample (biopsy) to test a possible tumor or a lesion, it can be done with even greater accuracy with the Spyglass. If your doctor finds a stone in a duct, it can be broken up (fragmented) during the Spyglass procedure, which isn't possible with ERCP alone.

The Spyglass 6,000-pixel fiber-optic probe attaches to a tiny camera. It improves what your doctor can do during ERCP – seeing deeper into the bile duct and pancreas than ever before. This helps avoid further testing after standard ERCP. Only select hospitals and imaging centers have Spyglass technology.

Why it is Done

You might need ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) with Spyglass if your doctor needs to:

  • Remove tissue samples for a biopsy
  • Open a blockage in a bile duct caused by a tumor or gallstones in the gallbladder
  • Place a stent (piece of plastic or metal) into a duct to prop open a blocked area

What to Expect

ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) with Spyglass takes place at a hospital, surgery center or clinic.

  • Your doctor tells you how to prepare for the procedure. Usually, this means you can't eat or drink for about eight hours beforehand, and you should avoid smoking and taking certain medications.
  • Your doctor numbs your throat with a local anesthetic. This medication is sprayed in your throat or you gargle with it.
  • You also may have a sedative – medication to make you sleepy. This is given through a needle in your arm (IV/intravenous).
  • Your doctor puts an endoscope (flexible tube) in your mouth and passes it down your throat and esophagus to your stomach, duodenum (first part of small intestine) and bile duct.
  • The tube is equipped with a tiny camera with the Spyglass 6,000-pixel fiber-optic probe. It transmits pictures that your doctor watches on a screen to see inside.
  • Your doctor pumps air into your stomach and small intestine through the endoscope to provide better pictures.
  • Your doctor slides a catheter (thin tube) through the endoscope and injects dye to make your ducts more visible on the X-rays. This helps your doctor see any blocked areas in the ducts.
  • If problems are detected, your doctor uses special tools – inserted through the endoscope – to remove cells for testing, open blockages, remove or break up stones, remove tumors or insert stents (plastic or metal tubes prop open blocked areas).
  • After the procedure, you rest in a recovery room while the sedation medication wears off. This can take an hour.
  • You can't drive home if you have had sedation medication. Bring someone with you who can drive.
  • You might feel tired and need to rest for the remainder of the day. You can go back to your normal activities as soon as you feel up to it.
  • Your throat might hurt after ERCP. This lasts only a day or two.

What the Risks Are

Risks of ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Radiation damage to tissue
  • Puncture of a portion of the gastrointestinal tract or a duct
  • Allergic reaction to the sedative medication

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