The UCT Private Academic Hospital (UCTPAH) has introduced new technology that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of the pancreatic and biliary procedure, called SpyGlass DS Direct Visualisation System.

The technology was acquired by the UCTPAH’s Digestive Diseases Centre (DDC), and is designed to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from a range of pancreatic and biliary disorders.

“The technology significantly enhances our diagnostic capabilities in enabling direct visualisation of lesions,” said Surgeon at the DDC and Head of the Surgical Gastroenterology and Hepatobiliary unit at UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital, Prof Eduard Jonas.

“Establishing the precise nature of indeterminate strictures in the biliary and ductal systems has been a long-standing challenge. The Spyglass is particularly valuable in that it allows us to better investigate indeterminate bile duct strictures. It also offers more options for the management of difficult bile duct and pancreatic stones,” continued Prof Jonas.

Prof Jonas says the SpyGlass DS System is a refinement of an earlier device, offering better image quality with four times higher resolution and a 60% wider field of view.

The system also offers a channel which enables devices and guidewires to be passed through it. Such devices may include, for example, a biopsy forceps for directed biopsies of diseased tissue under direct vision, and laser technologies that are able to break down difficult biliary and pancreatic stones.

According to Prof Jonas, the new improved technology has only recently been introduced to South Africa and has so far only been used in a handful of procedures.

Currently the new SpyGlass technology is not available to patients in public hospitals in the Western Cape. However, through the private-public partnership between Groote Schuur Hospital and UCTPAH, UCTPAH is able to make state-of-the-art technologies such as this available to public sector patients through special funding arrangements.

“This is an excellent example of the public and private sectors working together to the benefit of patients from both sectors,” said UCTPAH General Manager, Lieselle Shield.

Shield says that the SpyGlass, which is manufactured by Boston Scientific in the US, is an important advance in the field of hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) and academic medicine in the Western Cape.

“Technology such as this strengthens UCTPAH’s position as a centre of learning excellence and will serve to advance our medical knowledge, particularly as it will be applied in a limited resources context and in our populations with their unique disease profiles,” said Shield.

“Furthermore, Spyglass ensures that UCTPAH will remain at the cutting edge in the management of HPB diseases in South Africa. We applaud the DDC for taking the initiative to partner with the hospital to introduce this cutting-edge medical technology,” concluded Shield.

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