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SpyGlass Cholangioscopy
in Denver

What is SpyGlass Cholangioscopy?

SpyGlass cholangioscopy is a technique that involves the SpyGlass direct visualization system used in conjunction with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). It allows your doctor to visualize the biliary duct system and difficult-to-reach small ducts in the pancreas.

This procedure may be done to evaluate, diagnose and treat many different conditions of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. This method may involve:

  • Biopsies.
  • Diagnosis of cancers of the bile ducts.
  • Evaluation of infections.
  • Pinpoint the cause for bleeding in the biliary tract.
  • Tumors in the bile or pancreatic ducts.
  • And more.

How is SpyGlass Cholangioscopy Performed?

This procedure will begin with an ERCP and is then followed with the SpyGlass procedure. During an ERCP, you will put on a hospital gown and an IV line will be placed into your arm or hand. You will then be asked to lay on your side or belly on the X-ray table. IV anesthesia will be given to help you relax and stay comfortable during the exam. An endoscope (long, thin tube) will then be passed through the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine until it reaches the bile and pancreatic ducts. A special dye is injected through your IV, and video gastrointestinal X-rays are taken as the dye moves through the ducts.

The SpyGlass system can then be used to allow your doctor to expertly perform other procedures such as removing gallstones or taking biopsies during this time. By enabling your provider to directly see the bile ducts, he or she can obtain better biopsy specimens and can also use laser or other methods to break up pancreatic duct stones. Overall, this procedure can take 1-2 hours to complete.

Following SpyGlass Cholangioscopy

While diagnostic findings may be available right away, it can take a couple of weeks for biopsy results. Your doctor will speak with you regarding your test results and his or her recommended plan of action. Because the SpyGlass cholangioscopy is an outpatient procedure, you can return home the same day. It is important that you have someone available to drive you home, as your anesthesia will not have completely worn off yet. Some patients may experience temporary throat irritation, bloating or nausea once they return home, which will dissipate with time. If these symptoms do not go away or are very uncomfortable, please reach out to our office.

How Can I Prepare for My Procedure?

Before your SpyGlass cholangioscopy, your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. Generally, they may include:

  • Avoiding eating, drinking or smoking for at least 6 hours before your test.
  • Speaking with your doctor if you need to temporarily stop diabetes or blood-thinning medications.
  • Letting your doctor know if you have any allergies, especially to IV contrast dyes.
  • Informing your doctor if you believe you may be pregnant, as certain anesthesia may be harmful to an unborn child.

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Your South Denver GI Team

At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about SpyGlass Cholangioscopy or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!

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