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Sanford Clinic Adds New Medical Equipment to Help Patients with Gallstones

With the SpyGlass Direct Visualization System, large gallstone removal is relatively quick and requires no incisions.

(Sioux Falls, SD) – Pain and discomfort from conditions such as gallstones may be more easily relieved thanks to new technology at Sanford USD Medical Center. Sanford Clinic Gastroenterology is the only clinic in the region to start using a new technology to diagnose and treat conditions such as obstructions and stones within the bile tract. This technology, known as SpyGlass Direct Visualization System, includes a miniature 6,000 pixel fiber optic probe that provides physicians with a direct view of a patient’s bile duct, overcoming some of the visual challenges of conventional procedures.

"This new technology gives my patients another, less-invasive option," said Philip Tanner, MD with Sanford Clinic Gastroenterology. "Before SpyGlass, surgery was often required. Now with the aid of SpyGlass, the large stones can be broken up within the duct and removed avoiding surgery."

Gallstone Treatment and Removal

With the SpyGlass Direct Visualization System, large gallstone removal is relatively quick and requires no incisions. SpyGlass is a small flexible tube around the thickness of a human hair with a light and a video camera at the end. The new technology is able to enter tiny areas such as bile ducts that larger scopes can't. It is threaded into the bile duct and moved until the stone is found. When the stone is clearly seen, shock waves (lithotripsy) are applied to break it apart and then the stone fragments are removed.

"The technology is altering the way we diagnose and treat patients with liver, gallbladder and bile duct conditions," added Tanner.

SpyGlass Also Improves Visualization for Other Conditions

The SpyGlass fiber optic probe attaches to a camera head and is inserted through a catheter that can be steered in four directions. This is designed to allow physicians to access and inspect the entire treatment area. As a result, physicians are able to achieve a more accurate diagnosis for patients. SpyGlass also is aiding doctors in the diagnosis of tumors in the pancreas and or bile ducts.

For more information, contact Sanford Clinic Gastroenterology at 605-328-8500.