LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The SpyGlass Direct Visualization System is tiny, provides precise color images and can help doctors make a faster and more accurate diagnosis. New technology can get patients to treatment more quickly or reveal they have nothing to worry about.
Doctor Angelo Coppola with Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic is going high tech to help his patients. He's one of the first physicians at Baptist Health to use the SpyGlass Direct Visualization System.
"It's the difference between looking at the shadow of a tree and actually looking at the tree. You look at the shadow you can't really tell what the tree is except for it's a tree. You look at the tree, you can tell if it's a maple, oak," said Dr. Coppola.
Normally for patients suffering from gallbladder problems, liver diseases or possibly cancer, the older approach, Dr. Coppola said, was to use x-rays.
"The x-rays are just flat static films and many times they can miss things. What the spyglass does, it enables us to directly look into the bile ducts with a camera, so we can actually see what's going on rather than having to guess what's going on," said Dr. Coppola.
Using a small video probe, he can now access areas once unreachable.
"A camera that we'll place in the esophagus and into the stomach, we're able to put a catheter into the bile duct which goes into the liver from the small intestine, this is frequently where we'll sometimes see a stone or a cancer," Dr. Coppola explained.
And, the stone can be broken up right then and there without the patient having to come back repeatedly. Doctors can also biopsy immediately often preventing the need for major surgery. Plus, patients can get a diagnosis right away instead of waiting for tissue to come back.
"We've had patients who've been waiting, trying to find out exactly what's been going on and having repeat biopsies that we've been able to say they do not have a cancer absolutely and can treat more conservatively," Dr. Coppola said. "Flip side of that, we've had patients who presented initially with cancer, which it may have taken us a few weeks to make that diagnosis, and we're able to make that diagnosis and get them to surgery rather quickly."
Having technology like the SpyGlass, said Dr. Coppola, makes all the difference.
"It's one of those things if you catch it early, you can cure it, if you don't, you don't," Dr. Coppola concluded.
Doctor Coppola said Baptist has been using the SpyGlass for the past couple of months.