May 3, 2022

What Is A Pancreatoscopy?

Spyglass pancreatoscopy is a new, non-invasive endoscopic procedure that can be used for visualization, diagnostic evaluation, and therapeutic intervention of pancreatic duct abnormalities. In the past, pancreatoscopes had limited maneuverability and were difficult to operate. By overcoming these limitations, the spyglass system is considered a breakthrough in the field of endoscopic technology.

Spyglass pancreatoscopy can be used in the evaluation and management of:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Intraductal pancreatic mucinous tumors
  • Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and tumors of the pancreas
  • Pancreatic stones/debris
  • Pancreatitis

The spyglass system can be used by a single operator and has increased maneuverability allowing easy visualization of the pancreatic duct, extraction of tissue for biopsy, and treatment of stones, strictures, or other pathology. It has separate channels for the use of instruments and irrigation. The procedure requires decreased fluoroscopy time which results in decreased radiation exposure.

You will usually have to lie in the prone position for the procedure. The spyglass access and delivery catheter will be attached to a duodenoscope which will be inserted through your mouth down into the stomach until it reaches the duodenum where the opening of the pancreatic duct is visualized. The spyglass catheter will then be advanced into the pancreatic duct under fluoroscopic guidance to visualize the pancreatic ductal system and perform the diagnostic or therapeutic procedure as required.

The spyglass pancreatoscopy system is very safe compared to earlier versions of the pancreatoscope; however, there remains a minimal risk of complications which include bacteremia, abdominal pain, and nausea.