Consultant is first in county to use new method for treating gallstones
Consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Conrad Beckett, has become the first in Yorkshire to use a new technique to shatter gallstones in patients. Gallstones are stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder.
In most cases they do not cause any pain however in a small number of cases, gallstones can become trapped in a duct, leading to a variety of symptoms, including sudden intense pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting and jaundice.
Risk factors include obesity and age, with older people more likely to develop gallstones.
Women are also two to three times more likely to develop gallstones than men.
Traditionally, patients needing treatment for gallstones, many of them elderly, have faced major surgery and hospital stays of up to ten days, or frequent visits to hospital for treatment to put in stents.
Now the Foundation Trust has invested £50,000 in the new SpyGlass equipment, making it one of only eight other centres in the country carrying out the new procedure.
SpyGlass consists of a baby endoscope – a tiny flexible tube and eye piece to see inside the body – which can pass up a standard endoscope and into the bile duct to directly visualise abnormalities.
Tiny forceps can then be used by the doctor to take a biopsy, to aid diagnosis and management of disease or a lithotripter – a device which emits electrohydraulic shock waves – can pass up the baby scope to shatter gallstones.
It will be used on patients who have stones which can’t be removed surgically or using standard endoscopic techniques.
Dr Beckett, who has 18 years’ experience, trained on the equipment in Aintree, Liverpool, and was the first doctor in Bradford to use the new SpyGlass technology.
He said: “SpyGlass is a procedure which is lower risk for the patient and can be done as a day case. It takes about an hour-and-a-half for a big stone and because it is not comfortable for the patient it is done under general anaesthetic.
“The first procedure went very well and we crushed a big stone nicely. Hopefully the patient won’t have to come back again.
“We are talking about doing a couple of cases a month and will start with the backlog of our own patients and will then be happy to take referrals from across Yorkshire.”